When announcing a termination, make sure no one says anything that’s potentially defamatory. Keep the announcement professional and don’t make gratuitous comments, no matter the reason. Tell only those who need to know why the firing happened.
Recent case: Dwight, a former Marine, had a long-standing conflict with his employer after he started a side business. Ultimately, his contract was terminated.
He sued after hearing that someone inmay have made comments to the effect that they had to worry about “a crazy ex-Marine waiting in the bushes.” Dwight said the statement was defamatory and insulting to his military service.
Fortunately for the company, the court said the comment wasn’t widely distributed and hadn’t harmed Dwight’s reputation. (Reisdorf, et al., v. i3 LLC, et al., No. 14-780, DC MN, 2015)
Advice: Avoid needless litigation—don’t make smart comments.
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