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Employee Termination – A How-To for Associations

image of man being taken out of officeWhen it is time for employee termination, protect your association against data theft with these tips.

No one likes to be part of an involuntary separation, but sometimes, when there’s a bad egg, it’s the best thing for your organization. It’s crucial to be prepared when it happens because security will likely not be top of mind during this emotionally-charged time.

Tip #1: Vetted Procedures

Putting in place – and enforcing – employee offboarding policies and procedures is a must.

Ideally, departments (e.g., executives, legal counsel, IT, HR) would work together to outline the offboarding process. If your association does not support those positions, assemble the appropriate team to put together and execute these policies.

What’s more, following the right termination procedures will help your association avoid any legal issues. These should be at the top of your list:

    • Avoid firing employees on the spot.
    • For positions like manager or above, use severance and/or release agreements to protect your organization and limit liability.
    • Use intellect instead of emotion when delivering the news.
    • Prepare and use a checklist to ensure all procedures are followed.

image of difficult people promotion

Tip #2: Protecting Data

When it comes to securing data, an IT professional should play an integral role. If your association doesn’t have one (and even if it does) be sure to have and follow a termination checklist covering everything from passwords to company-owned equipment.

This is not the time to be short-sited; protect your members’ data and your systems to avoid cybersecurity breaches by a disgruntled former employee.

Your policies should describe when (and how) IT should handle preserving sensitive data, records, logs, and anything else that could be of importance in the face of a legal battle. This is especially necessary in the case of high-level employees, or employees who are leaving under a cloud of suspicion.

Tip #3: Assessing Behavior

Before the termination process begins, be mindful of troubling behavioral signs from the employee. Determine if that employee is low risk or high risk for bad behavior, such as taking sensitive information with him/her.

    • When possible, let the terminated employee clean out his workspace at a time when co-workers are not present, or offer to do it for that person.
    • Consider using security or human resources personnel to accompany the terminated employee while he clears out his workstation, and escort him to the exit.

For High-Risk Employees: 

Alert necessary departments and IT beforehand so they can turn off access to all electronically-stored information and systems (including remote access) during or after the termination meeting.

As a result of collaborative effort, not only will your data be safe, but if a legal battle ensues, your association will be protected as well.

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Bonus Tip:

Security policies do not end with employees; for the utmost protection, be sure that your vendors and contractors accept – and are held to – the same security protocols that your association has in place for employees.

Stay tuned for the upcoming post with an association employee termination checklist.

These tips are reliable, but not guaranteed. Please consult with a qualified professional.


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