Employee Termination: Importance of a Digital Forensics Investigation

Every company has to let go of an associate or employee. Often, the Human Resources department executes this after the initiation by management. During the process associate in question is informed of the decision, may be placed on suspension before the final termination. At this point, company property like computers and cell phones must be collected from the associate and recycled to be used by other company representatives.

There are many reasons a company would terminate an employee including intellectual property theft, violations of non-compete clauses, breach of contract, and others. But, there are vital elements that must enter into this timeline of events.

The Importance of Timing in Collecting Assigned Digital Devices

When a company performs an internal investigation, it may not be able to acquire its assigned digital devices before the suspension of termination. That is why timing is crucial. Waiting too long could give the employee in question enough time to destroy all valuable information. Acquiring the digital assets of the company must be done at the time the target of the investigation is made aware they are being investigated.  All collected devices must be locked away in a safe location with limited access until an Elijah computer forensics expert has been called and consulted.

What to Expect from the Forensic Examiner

Digital forensics investigation and analysis are different from standard types of investigation because the examiners have to know the facts. They will examine the investigation target, the relevant device, and data, where the target has been using the device, how they access the data on the device, and so on.

During the investigation, the company should refrain from fishing through devices to obtain evidence that can support the investigation. The reason is that this violates the evidence’s integrity and opens the door to claims of unfair treatment. Forensics experts need detailed information to develop a strategy for the analysis and solidify the facts of the case.

Importance of Digital Forensics Investigation

When a company terminates an employee or associate, it has the responsibility to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Thus, it is important to approach the case like it will go to litigation which requires discovery, production of documentation, depositions, and forensic data analysis. It is not a good idea to assume the terminated employee will simply accept the termination easily and look for a new job. Thus, the remaining corporate representatives must prepare for the eventuality that they have to defend the position of the company by having all data examined by a digital forensics expert beforehand.