Getting fired

I have been with a small company for 9 years. I started out with the company as a temp hire to fill a position for a reservist who was called to active duty. The reservist returned and I was kept on as a web developer/sys admin backup. Soon after his return from active duty the reservist sought other employment which left me to fill the sys admin roll full time for the last 6 years.

I suspect my time may be short for reason I don't want to go into other than it's based on office politics and not performance. Since I have been with the company I have doubled my salary from performance raises. I maintain 9 Servers including Linux Enterprise Application, Linux Apache Web Server, Exchange 2010, Windows 2008 AD, Windows XP and 7 clients ect...

My question is. If I am terminated, what is my responsibility with the keys to the kingdom? Do I have a responsibility to hand over passwords, train a new sys admin and/or take calls in the future to answer questions that come up or answer questions by the owner? Would it be wrong to take a stand and not provide help with anything unless the company is willing to pay me as a consultant at that point and enter into a contract?

Has anyone else gone through this? Is there a protocol for situations like this?
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It depends upon your contract (at the time of hiring and at the time of termination).
Trenton KnewOwner / Computer WhispererCommented:
My opinion is, if you were on payroll there, you should have been responsible for maintaining adequate documentation to allow someone to step in to your role in case of disaster, (i.e. you were struck by lightning or hit by a bus).  That being said, if you did not do that, it should have been your supervisor's responsibility to ensure you were doing that.  If I was the employer, and I knew I was about to let you go, I would be insisting that you make sure your documentation is up to date prior to terminating you.  If you are terminated, and are not being compensated to provide the information, then they will just have to "figure it out" without you.  DO NOT WORK FOR FREE.
Kyle AbrahamsSenior .Net DeveloperCommented:
It honestly depends on your relationship with your employer.  For me personally I always like to be as professional and as courteous as possible.  If they're not paying you are NOT required to be of any assistance to them whatsover, though I have found that you run into people from your past ("Hey, he was a nice guy, hire him" vs. "That guy was a total jerk you should look for someone else.")  

Regardless, you DO have a responsibility to hand over the passwords / diagrams / documentations to your boss or HR . . . but once you hand them over what they do with them isn't your concern.

With regards to what Trenton said I mostly agree . . . though if it's just a quick question or something I will usually answer it.  If they want you on an on-call basis / support role you should be paid for it.

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Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
Things like passwords and access info belongs to the company since they paid you to create and use that info.  Your labor if they 'terminate' does not.  Without an agreement to provide support after termination, you owe them nothing in the way of labor.

Do Not take any company info with you if you leave for any reason.  They can come after you for that.
jmac44Author Commented:
Passwords are documented and kept in a secure location as well as everything else about the network and systems. The only problem I have is them saying we are going to terminate but before you go do all this work so it's easier for us and then while your gone and trying to find another job I'm sure you won't mind if we use you to help us understand what to do.

It may be all for nothing and I may just be paranoid but do to the nature of our business - wholesale distribution - it is quite possible that we may out of business in less than five years thanks to China and Taiwan. So downsizing the IT department from a high paid veteran to youngster who knows AD, DNS and DHCP and will work for free laptop and minimum wage isn't out of the question. At least for this firm.

Thanks for the input I appreciate the responses.
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