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Monitoring "Short-Timers"
2

Monitoring "Short-Timers"

Monitoring "Short-Timers"

(OP)
I was just given a heads-up about a small layoff that will occur in my company.  The 5 or 6 affected employees will be allowed to stay for two weeks in addition to getting severance.  I am asked to monitor heavily for any malicious activity.  I have no idea what I am supposed to be looking for - everything shows up in logs when it is too late!

Any ideas before I succumb completely to panic mode?

Christine

RE: Monitoring "Short-Timers"

Tell HR they are insane and the request is impractical. Let them go now and add the 2 weeks to their severance. The down time to production that could occur is not worth the risk. If you have any personal information (Privacy Act or HIPPA) they can really cause you issues.

Make hourly backups of everything. I've been down this road before. It sucks. We would randomly Dameware into their PC just make sure they were doing what they were supposed to (Get manager AND HR approval before doing this). We only had to restore the Database twice and the file server once.

Good luck Christine. I hope the users are nice to you cause it can quickly turn into a worst case scenario.

"If I were to wake up with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn't be more surprised than I am right now."

RE: Monitoring "Short-Timers"

The best way would have been to include in the severance contract a code of conduct for the remaining period. If this was done and done correctly you could have made a portion of the severance dependant on not violating the agreed to terms.

Paul
---------------------------------------
Shoot Me! Shoot Me NOW!!!
                           - Daffy Duck

RE: Monitoring "Short-Timers"

One of the things we did learn, was to revoke all abilities to DELETE whether it be files or records. Any deletes had to be made by the supervisor/manager. that doesn't stop all of it, but does keep them from doing mass destruction in a single shot.

I would also save every email in and out of their mailboxes. You do not want them sending themselves private data. We blocked all messengers, mail.yahoo.com, msn.com, gmail.com, etc from those users for that reason (we also had HIPPA concerns).

"If I were to wake up with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn't be more surprised than I am right now."

RE: Monitoring "Short-Timers"

I believe the silly people who made such a risky decision for the company should be required to sit with these people for the time they are still there and watch their every move. An additonal two weeks severance pay is cheaper than rebuilding a system trashed by a disgruntled employee. If you need someone to do their tasks for the time period, hire temps.

Joe's idea about revoking all delete rights is a good one.  

"NOTHING is more important in a database than integrity." ESquared
 

RE: Monitoring "Short-Timers"

Quote:

An additonal two weeks severance pay is cheaper than rebuilding a system trashed by a disgruntled employee.
More to the point, it may well be cheaper than the cost of all the additional monitoring you need to do. Also, how much work are they realistically expecting to get out of these people anyway? They would be lucky to get anything from me in that situation.

-- Chris Hunt
Webmaster & Tragedian
Extra Connections Ltd

RE: Monitoring "Short-Timers"


I was in this situation myself once. I was told that my contract would end, but they would give me almost three more weeks. I was rather shocked by the whole thing. Since I had been sent out there by a staffing company, I didn't do anything destructive. I didn't want to harm my relationship with the staffing agency.

It's been over a year since that happened. To be brutally honest, I wish I had done something destructive during my time there. What I did mostly during that time was surf the web. Perhaps, they were trying to maintain some type of good will with me.

I believe that if you are going to lay off somebody, you should lay them off immediately. If the employee believes that he or she has been wronged, then he may do something. Can you blame him? After all, the employee has not burned the bridge. Clearly the company has burned it.
 

RE: Monitoring "Short-Timers"

No!  If you are laid off, you are paid to the end of the agreed time - you are therefore obliged to work, according to your contract, to the end of that time.  

Any behaviour contrary to your contract is - and should be treated accordingly.

Any destructive behaviour is almost certainly illegal and should be treated as such.

Rosie
"It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong." Richard Feynman

RE: Monitoring "Short-Timers"

Quote:

It's been over a year since that happened. To be brutally honest, I wish I had done something destructive during my time there. What I did mostly during that time was surf the web. Perhaps, they were trying to maintain some type of good will with me.

I believe that if you are going to lay off somebody, you should lay them off immediately. If the employee believes that he or she has been wronged, then he may do something. Can you blame him? After all, the employee has not burned the bridge. Clearly the company has burned it.

You wish you had done something destructive?  Why?  What possible purpose would that serve?

Can I blame an employee who takes action because he feels he's been wronged?  If it's something unethical, then yes I can.

By your logic, if an employee quits, should the company try to ruin his life?
 

RE: Monitoring "Short-Timers"


I'm not here to debate the right and the wrong of what "short-timers" should do or should not do. My point was quite clear--if you lay off someone, you should do it immediately. If an employer is going to stab an employee in the back, then that employer should get the employee out the door as soon as possible.

Finally, employers should certainly consider the sad case of Pacific Southwest flight 1771 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PSA_Flight_1771>. This is what can happen when you fire an employee and don't seize his employee credentials.
 

RE: Monitoring "Short-Timers"


Oh, for goodness sake.
I was laid off once, got nice references from my manager and HR person, and found a better job - not the next day though, a few month later.

RE: Monitoring "Short-Timers"

Glad you're not a pilot, shoal

"If I were to wake up with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn't be more surprised than I am right now."

RE: Monitoring "Short-Timers"

(OP)
This isn't an evil nasty empire, it is a small company, struggling to keep afloat.  They have to do something.  I hope shoalcreek isn't secretly one of my coworkers!

Bottom line, I am doing aggressive monitoring and backing up and told my boss I will do the best I can to prevent or recover from malicious activity within the boundaries he has set up for me.  Sigh.  Friday is the day.  Wish me and the displaced employees luck.

Christine

RE: Monitoring "Short-Timers"

Quote:

I was laid off once, got nice references from my manager and HR person, and found a better job - not the next day though, a few month later.

Sometimes this does happen. I once had a legitimate layoff--the company was out of business within a year. But even in the case of legitimate layoffs, it's quite common for a company to misrepresent its financial status to job candidates. In the interview, they will say: "We're making a profit and are in great shape." A month later, they will say: "We're going out of business. Good-bye."

It also happens that companies will figure out a way to make every firing a layoff, so they can protect themselves from any negative fallout.

Back in 1998, I actually offered to finish some work for the company after the termination meeting. They politely told me that I couldn't do that. I politely walked out the door. Today in 2008, I would never make such an offer.
 

RE: Monitoring "Short-Timers"

I agree that terminations should be immediate, except in rare circumstances (based off the individual and the company, the environment may exist to make it reasonable).  The possibility of an angry employee causing harm, and the consequences of this are too great to risk.  However, I fall short of condoning such activity on the part of the employee.

Employers should terminate employees immediately (think of it as giving them a head start on job hunting), but pay 2 weeks worth or more severance.  Employees who choose to leave should give 2 weeks or more notice, and should prepare everything for their replacement.  It's simple courtesy and good business.

RE: Monitoring "Short-Timers"

I have been part of companies who laid people off and did so immediately, helped you gather your stuff, and gave you two weeks pay (spookily efficient).

I have been part of companies that laid you off, but no one could absorb your workload, so they asked you to stick around and make sure your projects transition nicely (shitty planners).

I have been a part of companies that DON'T lay you off, but intercept you in the morning on your way to your desk and basically route you back out the door.  They ship you any personal items from your office.  They exercise "at will" employment and won't declare that you have been fired or laid off, just that you are no longer employed (Employment Department hates this almost as much as the employee).

I have been a part of companies that INFORM staff that they are hurting financially and rather than layoffs, they are encouraging anyone who is planning to retire to retire earlier for an additional bonus.

Some of this has even happened to me.

Different people do things differently and definitely it can depend on the size of the organization, their attitude toward employees, and the employee attitude.

monkey Edward monkey

"Cut a hole in the door.  Hang a flap.  Criminy, why didn't I think of this earlier?!" -- inventor of the cat door
 

RE: Monitoring "Short-Timers"

Any company that gives advance notice of layoffs is taking an unnecessary risk. I've been laid off before (around noon). They wanted me to work through the end of the day, but I declined, and my first stop after lunch was an employment agency (from whom I got my present job of over 12 years).

And shoalcreek,

You actually wished you could do something destructive on the way out the door??

It's fortunate that the company wouldn't allow you to do so. You could be asking the Martha Stewart question ("Do these stripes make me look fat?")

Nullum gratuitum prandium.
--Sleipinir214

 

RE: Monitoring "Short-Timers"

Quote:

I have been a part of companies that DON'T lay you off, but intercept you in the morning on your way to your desk and basically route you back out the door.  They ship you any personal items from your office.  They exercise "at will" employment and won't declare that you have been fired or laid off, just that you are no longer employed (Employment Department hates this almost as much as the employee).

I've only seen that stunt pulled once. I was pretty insistent about getting my personal items myself. I got them in about two minutes. It was fine if they wanted to stand over while I did it. Some people also say that the best way to terminate an employee is to take them to lunch.

Another guy once told me that he had happened to take his personal laptop to the office on the day he was terminated. He told them that if they didn't give him his laptop immediately, he was going to call the police.

Perhaps the moral of this story is simply: Don't take anything valuable to the office.
 

RE: Monitoring "Short-Timers"

Quote:

I have been part of companies that laid you off, but no one could absorb your workload, so they asked you to stick around and make sure your projects transition nicely (shitty planners).
I quit one job after my paycheck bounced.  Ten days after my old boss tells my lawyer that he simply can't pay me my back pay (much less the nice state-mandated multiples of my pay that my state allows as penalties), my boss calls me to ask me if I'd work on a project.

The moron told me he'd be willing to pay me under the table for the work.  He actually got both his feelings hurt when I told him that I'd gladly do it -- for all my back pay, the penalties, reimbursement of lawyer's fees and the amount of the contract.


Want to ask the best questions?  Read Eric S. Raymond's essay "How To Ask Questions The Smart Way".  TANSTAAFL!

RE: Monitoring "Short-Timers"


"both his feelings hurt"?
I am intrigued. What are they?

RE: Monitoring "Short-Timers"

I'm pretty sure at least one of them is greed.


Want to ask the best questions?  Read Eric S. Raymond's essay "How To Ask Questions The Smart Way".  TANSTAAFL!

RE: Monitoring "Short-Timers"

"I've only seen that stunt pulled once."

At this particular company, I saw it several times.  It was weird.  The first thing they seemed to do was change everybody's passwords.  THEN, when the person showed up, they were spun back out.  So, if yuo came in the morning and your password was changed, you knew SOMEBODY was getting out-i-fied.  There would usually be a brief and otherwise wholly uninformative meeting around 10am, announcing that so-and-so was no longer here.

"I was pretty insistent about getting my personal items myself."

If I hadn't been so flabbergasted, I would have.  8/

"I got them in about two minutes."

Really -- that's about all it would take, most of the time.

"Another guy once told me that he had happened to take his personal laptop to the office on the day he was terminated. He told them that if they didn't give him his laptop immediately, he was going to call the police."

Hm, well, I would not want to take my personal laptop to work anyway.

"Perhaps the moral of this story is simply: Don't take anything valuable to the office."

Well, after you work someplace for a while, you tend to collect stuff.  In my case, it was mostly lunch foods, some pictures, posters, and doodads.  Would have taken me mere minutes to pull it all out of there.  Instead, it was shipped to me, and some of it was broken en route.  I even ASKED if they could just box it and then call me and I'll pick the box up outside, but nope, had to be mailed.
 

monkey Edward monkey

"Cut a hole in the door.  Hang a flap.  Criminy, why didn't I think of this earlier?!" -- inventor of the cat door
 

RE: Monitoring "Short-Timers"

I'm not sure that companies realise the effects of how they lay people off.

Employees are not totally stupid: if we see someone marched out the door, we know we might be the next, and we'll be handled the same way. Maltreating the leaving staff is a brilliant, highly effective way to demotivate the staying staff. It destroys all company loyalty. Ten years of away-days, group bonding and buffet lunches can be undone in a second.

I can think of at least one company that, on closing a division, offered non-specific, no strings attached retraining opportunities to all the staff who were made redundant. I'd love to work for that company!
 

RE: Monitoring "Short-Timers"

Wow.. what a cynical company.  I was laid off.  Given a four week notice.  No monitoring.

RE: Monitoring "Short-Timers"

(OP)
The company isn't being cynical, Kjonnnn.
In fact, they resisted my efforts to monitor.

They walked one of the people to the door yesterday because he did do something bad.
Everyone else is done today.

Christine

RE: Monitoring "Short-Timers"

If they walk employees out the door when given notice by the employee they do not accept notice so it is no longer required except by contractual obligation.

If they give notice of a lay off date prior to lay offs they want people to walk out, give them cause to fire, get them to find other jobs before then so they can get out of paying them severance, unemployment, benefits, they do not have the guts to do the exit interviews.   One option I missed, they actually have some ethics, or morality, caring, concern, and , or loyalty to their human assets which made them all their profits, nah.


 

RE: Monitoring "Short-Timers"

(OP)
Yes, aarenot, it was the third option.  The employees were allowed to job seek during those two weeks, and severance was granted regardless of whether they had found a new job or not.  Unemployment was not contested.  It is a fair company fallen on hard times.

Fortunately for me, no one tried anything malicious on their way out.

Christine

RE: Monitoring "Short-Timers"

Soooo many times I have had managers or HR run down the hall to my office and tell us to lock a person out of their PC. Then spend the next couple of days tracking down all the changes/deletes they did and fixing them. People act very weird about getting laid-off. Some take advantage of the opportunity to get a pay check while finding another job, but many become bitter and vengeful. I must say, I find the latter highly distasteful. Shows a great lack of maturity, morality, and ethics.

Glad this round went relatively easy for you. Hopefully you were able to identify other gaps in your security for future events.

"If I were to wake up with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn't be more surprised than I am right now."

RE: Monitoring "Short-Timers"

Jill,

It's good to hear all went smoothly.  Perhaps this is a case of employees treating their (former) employer fairly because the employer was making an effort to treat them fairly.  I would like to believe that if the company has historically treated employees with honesty and respect, the vast majority of employees will return the favor.

RE: Monitoring "Short-Timers"

I am a big enough man(250 lbs) to admit when I am wrong, but my statement was a statement of the rule, and the reality was the exception that proves the rule.   I am glad you have had the experience to work for such an exception, and recomend you stay there if at all possible.   I have never worked for a company that did not in some way intimidate their employees into doing things which cheated the employee in a way the company would not be cheated in itself.
   

RE: Monitoring "Short-Timers"

It is always nice to hear when a company treats employees in a respectful manner even when ending their employment.

I have worked for numerous companies and typically put in above and beyond 40-60, typically 80+hours, a week to guarantee project success.  At my last company the became the expectation rather than the exception.  Project deadlines became shorter and shorter while workloads increased. After being fired I was upset for all of about 2 hours, they had given me a severance package and was interviewing 2 days later.  I got paid to fish for 6 weeks in which time they became 4 months behind schedule.   

Paul
---------------------------------------
Shoot Me! Shoot Me NOW!!!
                           - Daffy Duck

RE: Monitoring "Short-Timers"

Quote (MDXer):

Project deadlines became shorter and shorter while workloads increased. After being fired I was upset for all of about 2 hours, they had given me a severance package and was interviewing 2 days later.  I got paid to fish for 6 weeks in which time they became 4 months behind schedule.

Too bad that managers don't always realize that hard and fast deadlines can be counterproductive (esp. when combined with downsizing to "save costs". You cannot implement a complex project on the cheap. Choose one - takes longer but done right, or done quickly and shoddily, and have the application come out as buggy as an ant farm (in which case the "savings", and more, are generally blown away by re-doing the project the correct way).

Nullum gratuitum prandium.
--Sleipinir214

 

RE: Monitoring "Short-Timers"

Sad thing is that at this point the company had the means and was trying to grow its staff but had the wrong people interviewing.  They hired a Web Developer and thought he would be productive in Data Warehousing in a month or so. I had hired 10 people while there all but 1 had proven to be a great find.  The team they had hiring cared more about degrees and certifications than actual ability to do the work.

Paul
---------------------------------------
Shoot Me! Shoot Me NOW!!!
                           - Daffy Duck

RE: Monitoring "Short-Timers"

Quote:

Too bad that managers don't always realize that hard and fast deadlines can be counterproductive (esp. when combined with downsizing to "save costs". You cannot implement a complex project on the cheap. Choose one - takes longer but done right, or done quickly and shoddily, and have the application come out as buggy as an ant farm (in which case the "savings", and more, are generally blown away by re-doing the project the correct way).

Great sign I saw in a car repair shop.

Quote (sign):

Good, Fast, Cheap, Pick 2

--Dan
Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
Mark Twain

RE: Monitoring "Short-Timers"

Nice read sounds like my last company.

Paul
---------------------------------------
Shoot Me! Shoot Me NOW!!!
                           - Daffy Duck

RE: Monitoring "Short-Timers"

Great link, Chris. Thanks .. Something I definitely needed to read :)

Tao Te Ching Discussions : Chapter 9 (includes links to previous chapters)
What is the nature of conflict?

RE: Monitoring "Short-Timers"

Quote (shoalcreek):


If the employee believes that he or she has been wronged, then he may do something. Can you blame him?

If the employee feels that (s)he has been wronged, there are avenues to follow for that.  Yes, I would blame him/her.  And, frankly, give them a good brow-beating about maintaining a set of professional ethics expected from people in the I.T. field.  Frankly, I'd probably tell him/her that they are in the wrong field if they are going to "undo" the work that they were paid to do.

Quote (shaolcreek):


I've only seen that stunt pulled once. I was pretty insistent about getting my personal items myself. I got them in about two minutes. It was fine if they wanted to stand over while I did it.

That wouldn't have worked at my old job.  You could have been as instant as you wanted, even while you were in handcuffs being ejected from the property.

As an IT supervisor for a rather large company with a lot of HIPAA regulated information, there wouldn't have been any argument about it.  I was usually informed by the head of security as he was heading to someone's office (or as they were being called to their supervisor) to immediately suspend their accounts.

 

Just my 2¢

"What the captain doesn't realize is that we've secretly replaced his Dilithium Crystals with new Folger's Crystals."

--Greg  http://parallel.tzo.com
 

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