Before beginning actual layoffs, the compliance practitioner should work with the legal department and HR function to make certain employment separation documents are in compliance with the Securities and Exchange Commission retaliatory language prohibition which attempts to prevent employees from bringing potential violations to appropriate law or regulatory enforcement officials. If your company requires employees to be presented with some type of CA to receive company approved employment severance package, it must not have language preventing an employee taking such action. But this means more than havding appropriate or even approved language in your CA, as you must counsel those who will be talking to the employee being laid off, not to even hint at retaliation if they go to authorities with a good faith belief of illegal conduct. You might even suggest, adding the SEC language to your script so the person leading the conversation at the layoff can get it right and you have a documented record of what was communicated to the employee being separated.
When it comes to interacting with employees first thing any company needs to do, is to treat employees with as much respect and dignity as is possible in the situation. Treating employees with respect means listening to them and not showing them the door as quickly as possible with an escort. From the compliance perspective, this could also mean some type of conversation to ask the soon-to-be parting employee if they are aware of any FCPA violations, violations of your Code of Conduct or any other conduct which might raise ethical or conflict of interest concerns.
The reason for these actions are to allow you to demonstrate that any laid off employee was not separated because of a hotline or whistleblower allegation but due to your overall layoff scheme. It could be that you may need this person to provide your compliance department additional information, however, to be a resource to you going forward, or even a witness that you can reasonably anticipate the government may want to interview. If any of these situations exist, if you do not plan for their eventuality before the employee layoffs, said (now) ex-employee may not be inclined to cooperate with you going forward. Also if you do demonstrate that you are sincerely interested in a meritorious hotline complaint, it may keep this person from becoming a SEC whistleblower.