Executive Protection is usually viewed in the premise of being a bodyguard. The Secret Service that guards the President of the United States or the guys in suits that are escorting A-list celebrities on the red carpet at an awards show but this is why Executive Protection is so much more than that. Do you know that many Executive Protection Specialists are used during and after workplace terminations? Not any terminations but hostile terminations.
People get terminated from their job every day. Some for criminal, ethical, or policy violations. Some for not conforming to a culture of the business. Some of course for the unfortunate circumstances of cutbacks. Many will not be hostile towards the management and/or its staff, but many hold their staff/ co-workers, and management accountable for their life’s disposition. In this article I will discuss the position of the Executive Protection Specialist and why their services should be used in hostile workplace terminations.
Why go to an Executive Protection Program?
Many companies might have security on site. If this is the case clearly they need to be involved. They may choose to have them nearby while the termination meeting is going on and of course they will likely be the ones escorting the employee off the property. Some companies might not have their own security program. Now when I say hostile work place termination I mean just that. The employee based on their character, current feelings about the job and its workers, and their past behavior indicates that there might be a likelihood of threats, violence, or both.
So you might ask, why not call the cops? Well there certainly is that option, and encouraged if credible threats are made or there has been some sort of physical assault. However, I have been in law enforcement. There are threats that are prosecuted based on follow-up and the credibility of the threat and of course the means of the threat. Take the threat, “Watch your back,” These words alone do not make the threat prosecutorial. Now think of any previous contact with the employee, knowing and believing that this employee is capable of harming you (the client) or someone else. They’ve looked at you with that glaring stare, the gritted teeth, the clenched fist, and the angry verbiage “Watch your back.” You are in fear for your business, your staff, and your own family. How do you protect them? A restraining order alone will not protect you or your family. An arrest might temporarily protect you, if that happens. So why Executive Protection?
Executive Protection Specialists are paid to protect the client, their assets, their family if requested. They are singularly focused and mission oriented in that endeavor. They conduct threat assessments, advances at locations, they can protect the client and/or family, and conduct a surveillance on the former employee.
What is necessary for the client?
Make sure the termination meeting is in a neutral location. If there is a fear of violence or retaliation make sure you have security nearby. Of course there are numerous communication methods when dealing with the employee but for security try and keep a desk or something between the client and the employee. You want the employee off the property as soon as possible after the termination. If the business has access controls you would want to definitely deactivate the employee’s badge. Clearly the reason for termination may be confidential, but be transparent with the termination. If the employee shows back up on property security and/or other employees need to be aware that the terminated employee is not allowed there.
What is the role of the Executive Protection Program?
First and foremost, once the decision has been made to use an Executive Protection Program, an immediate Threat Assessment of the employee will be completed. The Threat Assessment is a process used to evaluate the threat posed by the employee, as a response to the perceived threat or concerning behavior. The primary purpose of a threat assessment is to prevent targeted violence. Many times, depending on locations and licensing requirements, there is a collaboration between Private Investigation Teams and Executive Protection Teams. Private Investigators can conduct a surveillance on the terminated employee while Executive Protection conduct the protection.
Former employees, depending on their role at the business, will likely know the clients routine. Therefore, it is important that Executive Protection teams vary the routines and conduct proper advances on any business meetings or publicly announced events. This is where communication between the Surveillance Team and Protection Team is a must. Any contact with the terminated employee is best done by the police. The protection team is there for the purpose of protecting the client. If the Executive Protection Team breaks that role then they’ve shown a weakness in the protection link. Make no mistake, just like the Executive Protection Team does threat assessments, the perpetrator of the threat can do the same thing. Unless the threat is immediate and exigent contact is to be avoided with the former employee.
How long does this detail last? There truly is no great answer for this question. A truly good Executive Protection Program might last a career of the client depending on what they consider a return on their investment. The fear of the threat may simply go away. The budget alone may simply cut the program. However, like any job, it needs to be done at the best of the team’s ability. Executive Protection Specialists should be selected based on reputation, experience, and training. Training should be a reputable and credible Executive Protection Programs that include behavioral indicators, advances, driving, first aid, hard skills (shooting, fitness, defensive tactics), and soft skills (communications, Operational Security, humility, Integrity). References and background should be checked as confirmation.
Lastly, I want to mention that in today’s climate of active shooters and disgruntled employees, I believe safety and security should at the minimum be highly looked at. –Stay Safe and be vigilant