I'm curious to know how other organizations handle terminations. Where I work, there is an ongoing debate over whether the dismissed employee should be escorted out of the building immediately (our current practice) or allowed to go back to their desk to pack up and say a few goodbyes. 

The basic reason for escorting them out is to avoid work disruptions, as well as the negative impact of goodbyes that could easily become extremely emotional. In some cases, it is a precaution to protect proprietary files, etc. However, I've heard people grumble that the abruptness of our termination process is cold and uncaring--which is the opposite of our corporate and leadership culture.

I'd love to hear others' thoughts and experience on this topic.

Thank you.


robin_s's picture
Training Badge

We also have a "policy" of escorting terminated employees out of the building, but I think it's terribly disrespectful, especially to someone who has been a long term employee.  I've had to conduct some terminations recently and unless I have good reason to believe the individual was in some way a threat to the company, I prefer to let them collect their things and leave on their own.  There was one situation over a year ago, where the employee was terminated because of threatening behavior.  In that case he was accompanied off the premises.  But put yourself in the shoes of the employee.  You've worked somewhere for years, and now on top of losing your job, you are escorted out as if you were a criminal?  Talk about rubbing salt into a wound!

I think the risk that the employee's departure will be disruptive is less than the risk of remaining employees seeing their co-worker treated with such disrespect.

cynaus's picture
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We need a "Like" button ;) ....... I totally agree with you.  Yes, there is a risk - and I think this is where the 'walk' originally stemmed from - of damage, threatening behaviour etc., but this can usually be gauged by the previous behaviour of the employee. 

Robin made a very good point that avoiding the risk of other employees losing respect and the potential for a dive in morale far outweighs the risk of disruption or damage.

gmjames's picture

I have been on both sides of this subjective. I was laid off abruptly from a long term position some years ago, and I've since had to terminate tenured employees. It was degrading to be walked out of my office and the building, so I did all that could to shield the employee from such an experience. I informed the employee of the termination late in the afternoon, allowing them to decide if they wanted to say goodbye to former co-workers presently, or wait until the office was clear to pack their personal belongings.I found that allowing them the freedom to make a choice is more humane.