At Remote, we understand the importance of a seamless offboarding process. To ensure a positive experience and protect Remote and your company from potential risks, an employee’s IT access should not be removed prior to the end of their employment without careful consideration and full understanding of the risks. By considering the following guidelines, you can mitigate conflicts and minimize termination costs.
This article will cover the following:
- Principle: Employee rights
- Exceptions: Discussing access removal
- Potential risks of premature access removal
- Determine the appropriate time for access removal
Principle: Employee rights
In general, employees have the right to work until their last day, and cutting off system access prematurely can interfere with this right. By respecting employees’ access privileges, we create an environment that fosters trust and collaboration, avoiding unnecessary challenges during offboarding.
Exceptions: Discussing access removal
If you're considering removing access before an employee’s last day of employment, it is best to engage Remote prior to any action being taken. We can discuss the best way to proceed, balancing your concerns against the risk of potential claims.
Potential risks of premature access removal
Removing system access before the last day of employment can pose several risks, which may vary depending on the employee's country of residence and circumstances. Some of these risks include:
- Escalate or create conflicts: Employees who experience sudden access termination are more likely to bring claims
- Higher termination costs
- Higher settlement payments
- Unlawful terminations: Removing access without following the required process could be seen as a predetermined decision and may be argued as verbal dismissal prior to any required termination process
- Harassment claims
Determine the appropriate time for access removal
Requests to remove access before the last day of employment can arise in various scenarios. To ensure a smooth transition while minimizing risks, we consider the following options:
- During employment: This typically occurs when there are concerns related to misconduct, misuse, or confidentiality breaches and the employer is considering their ability to terminate or where a termination process is ongoing.
- Revoking an employee's access before informing them of their termination can pose legal risks, as it may interfere with the employee’s legal rights, amount to a breach of contract and/or be viewed as a verbal dismissal.
- Evaluate if removing access before the last day of employment is legally permissible in the relevant jurisdiction, considering the specific circumstances; such as due to the risk of confidentiality breaches or suspected gross misconduct.
- If there is a need to terminate the employee, depending on the country, it may be less risky to proceed with termination swiftly than to remove access prior.
- When serving notice to terminate: In some cases, employers may request immediate removal of system access upon serving notice or during the notice period. If there are lawful grounds to terminate, Remote can support assessing the following:
- Immediate termination: Determine if immediate termination without requiring the employee to work during their notice period is legally possible. This allows for immediate removal of all system access.
- Payment in lieu of notice: Similar to option one, explore the possibility of immediate termination with payment in lieu of notice, enabling the removal of access upon termination.
- Garden leave: Consider whether it is possible to release the employee from the requirement to work during their notice period and place them on garden leave. While this option reduces risk, it may not be entirely risk-free.
- Paid time off (PTO): If permissible, consider placing the employee on PTO within their notice period. Like garden leave, this option reduces risk and can potentially reduce termination-related PTO payments.
- Upon Resignation: If the employee has resigned, Remote can support assessing the following:
- Payment in lieu of notice: It may be possible to inform the employee that they will not be required to work during their notice period and will be paid for that period instead—this will allow access to be removed as the termination will be brought forward.
- Garden Leave: Consider whether it is possible to release the employee from the requirement to work during their notice period and place them on garden leave. While this option reduces risk, it may not be entirely risk-free.
- Paid time off (PTO): If permissible, consider placing the employee on PTO within their notice period. Like garden leave, this option reduces risk and might reduce resignation-related PTO payments.
Note that some of these options may only be legally available through settlement, mutual agreement, or with the employee's consent. Should you wish to cut access prior to an employee’s last day of employment (even if the employee is within their notice period), please discuss the best option with the Lifecycle Specialist assigned to the offboarding case.