Terminating Employees Due to
Economic Downturn? Know
the Security Risks

Terminating Employees Due to Economic Downturn? Know the Security Risks

May 30, 2023

Terminating Employees: What Happens if Layoffs Go Poorly?

Terminating employees is always easier said than done. 2023 is shaping up to be a challenging year for many businesses, and employers may face the unfortunate fact that they will be laying off employees soon. In order to make ends meet, many corporations are cutting down on their human resources as they navigate the economic uncertainty ahead. While delivering such news is never a pleasant experience, employers should consider the risks that can create an unsafe work environment for the remaining staff, managers, and executive leadership.

AFIMAC continues to work alongside a number of Fortune 500 companies that are planning to either lay off their entire workforce or just a portion of it while managing the risks that stem from it. While these business decisions are not personal, employers should prepare for several security risks resulting from such actions. Assume that your workforce will take the news of being terminated personally and actively work to ensure all parties are kept safe in the aftermath of a large worker layoff.

Terminating Employees: Security Risks at the Moment of Termination 

Many workers remain mentally and physically strained after a challenging pandemic. Isolation, the demands of parenting, and home ownership have all become far more complex than they once were, creating a potentially volatile situation for all North Americans. As the cost of living rises and the economy slips further into recession, being terminated may push even the most well-behaved employee over the edge. The decision could prompt employees to lash out negatively upon receiving the news.

The risks of experiencing a termination going poorly remain high in 2023, and employers should be proactively addressing such risks before something goes terribly wrong. When managers or senior leaders must meet face-to-face with an employee who is about to be terminated, there could be a potential for verbal and physical violence and assault. The immediate security risks are real and often call for a physical security presence to manage such risks. Without proper preparations, employers are ultimately failing to provide a safe workplace and putting the remaining workers at risk. Should a high-risk termination go badly, the employer will likely face complications related to liability and litigation.

Terminating Employees: Post-Layoff Security Risks

Unfortunately, the security risks continue after a large termination or layoff. Even if it appears that a former employee has taken the news well, it does not mean that an employer has nothing to worry about. There is a real danger that a disgruntled former employee may return to the job site and act out days, sometimes weeks, after being let go. Such complications have become more common in a post-pandemic world, and the security risks must be addressed before your remaining workforce is put in harm’s way.

Terminating Employees in Remote Work Environments

For the industries that maintain remote workforces, security risks from a high-risk termination still exist despite an employer not having a brick-and-mortar workplace. It can be tough to predict how an employee will take the news of being let go when they work remotely, and they could lash out in different ways. 

If an entire workforce is laid off, there is a potential that they could organize via social media and create additional risks for the employer. During especially difficult terminations, some workers may publish intimate details about specific executives and managers online, including home addresses and personal phone numbers, while others may vent their frustrations and encourage people to either boycott your business or organize a protest.

Digital slander, harassment, and online campaigns against an employer post-layoff have become common in 2023, and digital security risks can be especially hard to resolve. Further, remote workers could threaten the safety of managers, executives, and their families.

Terminating Employees and Managing Risk: Resources from AFIMAC

Risk mitigation with AFIMAC typically includes pre-termination planning, physical security guards, and an ongoing strategy to identify and mitigate risks before they turn into real threats. Access control systems and surveillance efforts can help lock down a workplace when an employer is expecting a large layoff or high-risk termination and ultimately create a safe work environment for all involved. 

AFIMAC is unique in that it can address issues, including high-risk terminations, picket lines, and protests facing your business. Further, AFIMAC’s social listening tools can identify threats to your company and continuously monitor individuals that may pose a threat to the safety of others.

Fulfill your duty of care obligations as an employer and take strides to protect your employees and workplace. Contact Jim Rovers of AFIMAC directly at jrovers@afimaccan.com to learn more about available offerings to employers throughout North America.

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