Sometimes, employees who’ve been terminated go looking for an excuse to sue. And when something as simple as an offhand conversation gets back to the former employee through the grapevine, it could fan flames that turn into a defamation lawsuit.
That’s why you should tell managers and supervisors to keep mum on the discharge—and limit any discussion to those in HR who need to know.
Recent case: When a manager fired Terry Merier from his job, heated words were exchanged and another employee called police. The manager later told HR employees he believed Merier had threatened him.
Merier sued for defamation. The court dismissed the case because the threat allegations never got beyond HR. Plus, it was true that police were called. (Merier v. Lance, No. 07-4384, 3rd Cir., 2009)
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