Is it OK to call the police if a terminated employee will not leave the premises?

May 2, 2017

Topics: Terminating Employees

Employees who have just been told that they are fired do not always take that message very well. Usually, they manage to remain professional, gather their personal belongings, and leave the premises. Occasionally, however, an employee may get belligerent, argumentative or even aggressive. At times, even if they seem to be keeping their cool, they may refuse to leave the premises. What should the employer do? Can you call the police?

Yes, an employer can call the police if a terminated employee will not leave the premises. At that point, they are probably trespassing. In most jurisdictions, an employer can say who can and who cannot be on the employer’s property.

However, there may be steps an employer can take prior to doing that – which do not including getting into an argument or becoming involved in fisticuffs with the now-former-employee. Of course, if the terminated employee threatens violence against any persons, threatens to destroy company property, or engages in any violent or destructive behavior, the employer should call the police immediately.

If, however, the employee does not appear violent or aggressive, the employer may have other options before calling the police. It may be sufficient to send a fellow employee to escort the terminated employee off the premises. If he or she will not leave with such escort, then the employer could call building security personnel to escort the employee off the premises, if such exists. If the building does not have security personnel, or the building’s security personnel are unable to handle the employee, and the former employee still will not leave -- then the employer should call the police.

In all termination situations, it is important that the employer representatives dealing with the former employee remain calm, make no threats and, refrain from touching the individual—no matter how much they are getting aggravated, annoyed, or upset. Have back-up plans for all contingencies, and assign tasks ahead of time to cover all the “what ifs.” “Prepare for the Worst, Hope for the Best” serves as a good motto when letting employees go.