In September 2013, an ex-employee entered the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, D.C. and killed 12 people and injured 8 others. After the workplace rampage ended, investigators learned that the ex-employee had used his old key card to enter the supposedly secure facility. This tragic incident put a spotlight on the importance of terminating a former employee's access to a workplace.
While it's likely you'll never hear from a fired worker again, there is always the possibility that a disgruntled ex-employee could seek revenge on your company. And that's why it's important to take the following steps to protect your business, its employees and your company's reputation if you have to fire an employee.
Confiscate All Keys
You never want a former employee to have access to your business as they could be tempted to steal valuables from your company or to harm the people that they believe may have cost them their job. To ensure ex-employees can't enter your company after they have been terminated, you should:
- Take back any and all keys and key cards that they may have in their possession.
- Escort an individual from your building if you believe they may try to steal important proprietary information or valuable customer lists out the door with them.
Change the Locks to Your Business
If the employee claims that they can't find their keys or key cards, you should:
- Change or re-key all of the locks to your business and/or deactivate their key cards.
- Hire a locksmith from a place like Suburban Lock to fix all the broken locks on your windows and doors. A disgruntled ex-employee that is familiar with easy access points to your business may take advantage of them to enter your company.
- Check that all of the master keys for your business are accounted for. If any are missing, you should hire a locksmith to re-key your locks.
Alter Your Routine
An angry former employee who has been fired could be hurting for money and desperate enough to rob you. So if you routinely take large quantities of cash to the bank at a set time, make sure to change your routine,
Protect Your Network
Another way that ex-employees can harm your business is by attacking your company's network. According to Bloomberg, some disgruntled ex-employees are hacking their former companies' websites in order to disrupt services and to steal or corrupt valuable company data. To protect your network, it's important that you:
- Immediately terminate a fired employee's user name and passwords to all sites on your network.
- Change root and network access if the employee worked in your IT department.
- Collect any laptops, desktops and smartphones that have been given to the employee. All of these can contain valuable company information and documents.
Check Review Sites
Some disgruntled ex-employees have led attacks against their former employers by writing scathing negative reviews and posting them online. Unfortunately, these bad reviews could cause long-term damage to your company's reputation. In order to prevent this type of mischief, you should:
- Monitor review websites. If you suspect that a bad review may be the work of a disgruntled former employee, contact the website and explain why you believe the review may be false. Some sites will take the review down. If they won't work with your company, you may need to seek legal help.
- Post a carefully worded response to the review explaining why you believe it is false.
While most fired employees will never cause you a problem, it is best to prepare for the worst-case scenario and protect your company just in case a disgruntled worker does try to seek revenge on your business.