Hostile Termination and Firing Employees

In situations where an employee needs to separate from the company, but may be potentially or openly hostile towards management or co-workers, minimize the potential for workplace violence by using our Executive Protection team to facilitate a smooth exit.

If you need immediate protection, or are planning a termination, we can perform a threat assessment and determine if Executive Protection, surveillance, or a combination is justified.

Most often, Executive Protection will be present during the employee firing, oversee the employee’s exit, and then ensure they do not return.  It is common for employers to maintain an Executive Protection presence for a period after a hostile termination.

The goal is to prevent workplace violence or an active shooter incident.   Violence does not “just happen.”  It represents the culmination of anger, rage, previous conflicts, and is usually triggered by a situation where the employee only has “one way out” – violence.

Contact us for immediate assistance with a hostile termination.

What is a hostile termination?

 A hostile termination is the process of separating the company from an employee who may be disgruntled or not wish to separate from the company.  Hostile terminations are not pleasant for either party, but the sooner it is professionally handled, the better it is for your company.  Often Executive Protection agents are used to facilitate hostile terminations when firing an uncooperative employee.

The goal is to remove the immediate threat of the hostile employee and protect management and co-workers against retaliation.  After a hostile termination, a period of monitoring is often the best course of action to ensure the terminated employee does not attempt retribution.

How do I terminate a hostile employee? 

  • Do a background check to look for indicators of past violence and any open arrests.
  • Let them go early in the morning, and pay them for the full day. Terminating them at the end of the day may anger them, as you kept the news until the last possible moment.
  • Have all necessary separation paperwork ready.
  • Make sure you are not alone. If you choose to use Executive Protection have them inside the room.  At a minimum, have a witness with you.  A member of Human Resources is usually a good choice.
  • Make it brief. Do not allow debate or argument.   Deliver the information in a confident and final manner.
  • Bite your tongue. If they take the low road or make offensive statements, do not take the bait.  Often a prepared statement is the best choice.

Is threatening a coworker grounds for termination?

Many factors must be considered when firing your employee.  Does the employee have a history of making similar statements?  Has the employee ever been arrested or convicted of a violent crime?  Does the co-worker that was threatened feel unsafe? As an employer, you are responsible for maintaining a safe work environment at all times.

Depending on the answers to these questions, the employee may only need a written warning or suspension.   If the threat was credible, it often wise to consult with your attorney and find the best way to separate the employee who made the threat from your organization.