Q. We fired a part-time employee for stealing a gift card out of the trash. We have a policy against taking anything of value out of the garbage. The next day, his supervisor announced to everyone that the employee had been fired for theft. I don’t think it was appropriate to tell others the reason. Was it? And what should we say if someone calls for a reference? —A.L., Arkansas
A. Telling your staff or a prospective employer that you terminated someone for “theft”—especially when the offense involved nothing more than trash-can diving—is a good way to buy your company a defamation lawsuit. Termination decisions generally should not be discussed with rank-and-file employees. The safest way to respond to reference requests is to simply confirm the dates of employment and positions held.
- Capture knowledge from key people before they exit
- Poll: 1 in 3 employers fire for tardiness
- Put it in writing! Tracking discipline proves equal treatment for all
- 'You Won't Work Sundays?!' EEOC Offers Guidance on Religious Accommodations
- Firing Offense: When is 'Shoot the Boss' Comment Not Considered a 'Threat'?