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What To Do When An Employee Departs Suddenly

September 10, 2010

September 10, 2010 (Mountain View, CA) – Daniel McCoy, partner and co-chair of the Employment Practices Group at Fenwick & West LLP, was recently quoted in the Society For Human Resource Management (SHRM) article entitled, "What To Do When An Employee Departs Suddenly."

With the recent news surrounding JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater's sudden and dramatic departure, HR experts have confirmed that sudden departures are not uncommon and should trigger a series of immediate steps by the employer to ensure there was no harm done prior to departure.

Employers should take certain actions in response to abrupt employee departures in order to diminish potential disruptive and harmful actions. In particular, there should be immediate communication between management, other employees, and security to provide the news that the person is no longer employed and no longer has access to the premises or any company property or documents.

"A sudden resignation may be triggered by serious personal stressors, which could lead to an increased risk that the employee would be prone to disruptive and perhaps even violent behavior toward co-workers and the business generally," added Dan McCoy. "In that regard, employers should take appropriate safety measures and be watchful for any signs of destructive behavior, which can take many forms—from personal threats, to defamatory Internet postings, to property destruction."

Furthermore, "a sudden resignation could mean that the employee is headed to a competitor, and in that event, a review of keystrokes takes on even greater importance," stated McCoy.

Though safety, security and retrieval of property are foremost concerns following a sudden departure, some experts say employers should dig a little deeper to determine the cause.

Click here to view the article in its entirety on the Society For Human Resource Management website (subscription required).