Posts Tagged ‘High Risk Terminations’

Social Media Monitoring after High-Risk Terminations

September 23rd, 2016 Comments off

There are different types of high-risk terminations. Some are obvious, and some are not:

  • Those where the aggressive behavior or act of aggression/minor violence has caused the need to terminate.
  • Cases of deteriorating work performance caused by underlying personal factors affecting the person’s judgement, emotional state, and ability to cope at work. When the work behavior is being affected and cannot be corrected, a termination is sometimes required.
  • Someone caught up in a general RIF or downsizing through no deficiency of his or her own, and they are let go. What might make them high-risk is if their whole life is defined by their job and they have no support structure (family or friends) to fall back on. These can sometimes lead to the person feeling so devastated that they act out during or after the termination. These situations are not always identified as high risk, even though they can be.

After any high-risk termination, you will not know how long the person harbors ill will towards your company, or specific individuals in your company unless you take measures to monitor them some way. One method is to monitor their social media posts. It never ceases to amaze me what people will post on social media sites that they would not discuss in public for fear of someone overhearing. Granted, they might password protect certain information, but those who are prone to act out violently usually have fewer concerns about privacy than their interest in publicly letting everyone know how he or she has been unfairly treated and believe they are due some form of justice. Social media is a vehicle for them to do just that and you should seek this information after termination in high-risk cases. You might find out that the problem you thought you solved through termination has only gotten worse. Not only are they more desperate now but they are solely focused on your company as the reason for their personal downfall. Knowing that a former employee feels this way gives you some options to pursue, such as notifying the police, obtaining a restraining order, offering sponsored counseling, etc.

Human resource personnel and the corporate security team should work together and involve third party professionals to evaluate and monitor what is going on in this person’s life after their departure and especially around pivotal dates. Postings may become more prevalent around dates of hire and termination, birthdays, holidays, and other symbolic time frames. On the positive side, it could also tell you when the person has come to accept what had to be done and is moving on with their life. You might find they post happy thoughts about new employment or a new outlook on life related to some new endeavor. Either way, it is worth the effort and cost to take such precautions.

Violence is typically a process, not an isolated event. The violence process usually has behavioral red flags along the way. This is what thorough workplace violence prevention training often outlines and it applies even after the individual leaves the workplace, depending on the circumstances of the departure.  Not realizing the desperation that a person faces, and the volatility that they represent, could be dangerous and using every tool available to gather data is prudent. The job may have been all they had left to depend on!  They are now focusing on your company as the evil force that took away the one last thing that was important to them.

For more information regarding safely conducting a termination process for all types of high-risk cases, check out the courses at Also, refer to for more information regarding social media investigations.

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Safe Terminations – Reducing the Chance of Violence

July 18th, 2012 Comments off

All too often management feels that removing an overly aggressive problem employee through a sudden termination, even if justified, will solve the potential workplace violence problem. The fact is that even with the best intentions a misconducted termination might be the seed of a more serious problem. A ‘need for revenge’ problem may develop if the termination is done without regard for the individual and their unique situation. Furthermore, you are in less of a position to monitor and control this condition once the problem employee has left your organization. Much depends on the specific circumstances that lead to the decision to terminate but conducting the separation process in a manner that takes away the individual’s desire to seek revenge on you or your organization is the ultimate goal.

In general, once a termination is decided upon because of an individual’s behavior, a full case assessment should be conducted to determine the best way to separate the employee and help them move on in their life. Whether the behavior development was progressive over time, as is usually the case, or a sudden outburst has caused the decision to terminate, options for handling the high risk termination in the most appropriate manner must be considered. Gaining a real understanding of the individual and the reasons for their behavior will arm you with what should be considered during and after the termination process.

There are two conditions that most often exist with potentially high risk terminations. One, the termination is rushed just to remove the employee who has acted out in one aggressive, intolerable incident. Frequently, this is not a sudden, singular outburst but a severe occurrence of a behavior pattern that has existed, but been unreported, for some time. The second is when an underlying aggressive behavior pattern has finally been reported but the individual has been getting away with such behavior for quite some time. Both of these types of cases require time to assess the individual and the developing circumstances to determine the right method, timing and conditions for the termination process. It is beyond the scope of this narrative to completely review the options available and things to consider. However, a careful assessment by a clinical professional working closely with your case assessment team would produce an approach specific to the individual that might include any of the following:

  • Interviews between the individual and the clinical psychologist working on the case
  • Interviewing coworkers and supervisors
  • Seeking other healthcare professionals for the individual
  • Seeking substance abuse professionals for assistance
  • Family counseling or use of other community services available
  • Coordination with security for the termination session planning and follow up security measures
  • Close coordination with HR for the termination process
  • A well thought out logistical/security plan for the termination interview and exit process
  • Follow up interviews with the individual to track progress after separation
  • Outplacement services to assist with seeking new employment
  • Extended benefits of some type
  • Severance packages tied to certain expectations

For a more complete exploration into the coordination of High Risk Terminations check out the training courses available on

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High Risk Terminations – Minimizing the Chances for Violence

January 21st, 2011 Comments off

Too many managers think that terminating an employee who has unacceptable aggression issues will end the problem. If handled poorly, it may just be the beginning of a more serious one. When a termination becomes necessary because of workplace aggression problems, the event needs to be planned carefully.

The process begins with early recognition of aggressive or violent prone tendencies. This is the responsibility of the entire workforce. They must first take note of the conduct and then follow through to report it. If such behavior is noted early enough and appropriately addressed, a termination may be avoided by getting that person the help needed to change the behavior.

All employees, supervisors, and assessment team members must know their roles in the organization’s workplace violence avoidance policy. Employees and supervisors must be trained to recognize and report problem behavior. The assessment team must then begin the process of analyzing all of the accumulated data to reveal the severity of the problem. Denying the significance of certain conduct in order to ‘avoid confrontation’ or failing to ‘connect the dots’ are phrases often heard after a violent incident to describe what went wrong. Frequently, people talk about past statements or behavioral indicators, which at the time seemed trivial, but could have served as a warning if correlated correctly.

If termination is unavoidable, the goal is to make the unpleasant experience more tolerable for the individual through fairness, understanding, and discretion. Conduct the termination in a manner that takes away their desire to either respond violently, or return later and commit some violent act of revenge. Keeping this goal in mind, seek the help of threat assessment and security professionals who can assist with the termination planning. It’s been written that violence is not an event as much as a process. Therefore, to prevent violence you must recognize the process and address all of its phases. This means taking appropriate precautions before the termination, during the termination, and afterwards.

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