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Fired employee bad-mouthing company to former co-workers: What should I say?

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in Firing,Human Resources

Problem: A difficult employee be­­comes defensive and argumentative each time you try to address his shortcomings with him. He doesn’t see a problem or a need to change, so you fire him. His perspective of the situation is much different than yours, and now he’s going around telling his former co-workers how “terrible” the company is and how unfairly he was treated.

Is it better to correct the misinformation with your staff or leave it alone?

Answer: It is often best to leave a situation such as this alone. You have a disgruntled individual who is venting his anger, and it’s likely his former colleagues realize that. Your employees should also be able to judge for themselves how “terrible” the company is by how they are being treated.

You may, however, consider making a general statement reassuring employees that the company follows its policies and procedures in a fair and reasonable manner and makes decisions that best serve the company’s interests as a whole.

But if the former employee is doing more than expressing a difference of opinion and is lying, defaming the company, or otherwise could harm the company’s reputation, you need to protect the company. At this point, it’s not a do-it-yourself job, but one for HR and legal counsel.

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