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Protect Your Company From Fired Employees: 8 Steps

Use this checklist after terminating an employee to ensure that you, your employees, and your company remain secure.

It happens to every growing business at some point. Despite your best efforts during the hiring process a few individuals will get through that ultimately are not a good fit for your organization.

So despite your efforts to make these square pegs fit into the round holes of your organization, termination is inevitable. But what happens when you decide to let someone go? It is not as simple as deleting them from payroll and saying goodbye.

There are other factors which must be accounted for. Here's a quick checklist for you to use after you have terminated the square peg:

1.  Letter of Obligations

A letter should be dispatched to the former employee reminding him or her of their continuing obligations under any employment agreement or otherwise that was in effect as a condition of their employment (e.g. proprietary and confidential information, non-compete agreements, etc.).

2.  Keys Returned

All keys to the business should be returned by the employee and/or if your office is electronically enter access deleted for their cards. If they will not or do not return the keys to the office the locks should be re-keyed as soon as possible.

3.  Alarm Codes

If the employee had security alarm codes for your building they should be deleted or changed.

4.  Credit Cards

If the employee had a credit card issued through your office it should be returned.  Whether or not it is returned the credit card company should be contacted, informed of the situation, and cancel the card.

5.  Passwords to Internet Sites

If the employee's job dealt with using third-party web sites for your company then all passwords they had access to should be deleted or changed.

6.  Remote Access to Your Computer Network

If the employee had a laptop or other electronic devices allowing them access to your company's computer network they must be returned. Irrespective of whether the devices are returned, your IT department or provider should be instructed to remove any codes or accessibility to your network for that employee.

7.  Emails and Other Communications

An auto-responder should be placed on the employee's email simply informing all inbound email traffic that the employee is no longer with the company and if they need assistance with a specific matter to contact a specific person so designated in the auto-response. A similar voice mail greeting should be left on the former employee's phone. Then, the employee's emails and voice mails should be either automatically forwarded to a designated other person in the office or routinely checked.

8.  Payroll and Benefits

Finally, the employee should be, consistent with any employment agreement, removed from payroll and your benefits package. Note, if you provided the employee with health insurance or a 401k or other retirement savings plans special notice provisions (e.g., COBRA) may apply.

Last updated: Jun 14, 2012

MATTHEW SWYERS | Columnist | Founder, The Trademark Company

Matthew Swyers is the founder of The Trademark Company, a Web-based law firm specializing in protecting the trademark rights of small to medium-size businesses. The company is ranked No. 138 on the 2011 Inc. 500.

The opinions expressed here by columnists are their own, not those of

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