The potential fallout of disagreeable employee departures

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When an employee leaves your organization on bad terms HR must make sure other workers aren’t dishing the dirt to clients and customers – or you could be hit with a defamation claim, says one labour lawyer.

The issue was recently raised in the BC Supreme Court, where an ex-employee was awarded $30,000 after former colleagues made false statements to clients and other third parties.

The employer’s sole shareholder and a former co-worker told business associates that the departed employee had been fired after stealing from the company and engaging in “unscrupulous business practices.”

In reality, the affronted employee had voluntarily resigned as a result of an unresolvable disagreement with the sole shareholder.

Employment lawyer Ryan Berger offered up some best practice tips for HR to share with employees:

“Be selective”

Does every employee and client really need to know the exact reason why someone left? – Probably not.

Protect employee privacy and only enlighten everyone on a strictly ‘need-to-know’ basis, says Bull Houser lawyer Berger.


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