Dangerous Termination

We are set to terminate an employee who has demonstrated a strong tendancy for violence out of the workplace. He has also menaced co-workers and is generally a scary guy. The menacing (which we just learned about) is the reason for his termination.

He is not scheduled to work again until Wednesday. My question is -- should we terminate him by phone to avoid an in-office confrontation? Do we have to terminate him in person? If so, has anyone dealt with this situation before? what did you do? Should the police to be present? Thanks.


  • 4 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • This is my first time in the forum.  Yes, you could terminate him by phone (at least in my State you could).  If he has been given keys or another means of access to your building, you should have the locks changed.  He could return the keys but maybe he made a copy of them first.  Be sure that all your documentation is in order regarding his history of behavior in the event you plan to fight his unemployment.  If you decide to wait until Wednesday and terminate him in person, be absolutely sure that the police are there PRIOR to his arrival.  Yes - I've been where you are and was assaulted during the termination.  Not a good thing
  • I think it is generally better to have the termination discussion in person. In this case, you would definitely want to take some precautions including not meeting the employee alone and having a plan for escorting him out of the building after the meeting. If you have security guards at the company, they should be able to handle a situation if one arises. Having police on standby might be a little over the top unless there is a serious concern about physical violence. However, it is always better to be over-cautious in these situations.
  • I have recently gone throught a similar scenario.  The employee I am speaking of was sent to anger management as part of a corrective action as his actions were a cause for concern but nothing that flagged termination.  After one session of anger management (unfortunatly it did not work), he injured an employee and that employeee ended up going to the emergency room.  So to answer your question in New York we can terminate over the phone.  However I find that terminating in person is the best (in most cases) for several reasons.  first you can get back any keys (better off changing the locks), but more important in my facility without a security system is to get the photo i.d. badge returned.  Also if terminated over the phone the employee may not feel as though his / her concerns and side of the story was heard, therefore they are more likely to pay an unwanted visit.

    A few things that I do when dealing with this type of termination. 

     1.  Don't corner your self or the employee.  You want access if you have to move quickly to get out.  And you certainly don't want to be in the employees way if he is in a rage and wants to get out. 

    2.  Don't keep anything with in reach of employees hands such as picture frames, pen & pencil sets, etc.  An employee with anger issues may pick it up and through it at you as an initial reaction.

    3.  Do have a witness in the room and a person outside the room (preferably security, but I highly doubt the police department would want to get involved unless there were siginicant circumstances, in which you may not want to bring them on the property...at least I know with our PD that would not be top priority, but if you have security on premises that would be an option.)  listening in for your protection. 

    4.  Plan well;  like anything else, if you are prepared, likely nothing will happen.

     I wish you the best of luck!

  • Thanks to everyone -- termination went fine (considering), in person, no incidents. Thanks for all the good advice!!
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