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NewJeffCT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 10:06 PM
Original message
problem employee question
My wife just had something strange occur in her workplace. A part-time worker (let's call her Jane Doe) that works for my wife suddenly left the company with no notice. They even had trouble getting in touch with Jane when she just didn't show up one day.

This was maybe 2 weeks ago.

Tonight, my wife checked her work email and got cc'd on an email by this ex-employee Jane that was sent to her company's HR department. It basically said that another woman (Jill?) that worked for my wife had been bad mouthing Jane since she had left the company. She asked that Jill stop bad mouthing her or she would be forced to take action.

It was kind of surprising to me, as I thought sticks & stones and such and figured it was normal for current employees to sometimes bad mouth former ones that just stop showing up ... And, unless this Jill is saying something blatantly racist (but, both women are white) or otherwise, I don't think Jane can do much unless I'm mistaken.

What would you do?
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philosophie_en_rose Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 10:18 PM
Response to Original message
1. Jane has a case, I think.
Edited on Sun Nov-14-04 10:21 PM by philosophie_en_rose
Jill works for her employer and statements made by her that could damage Jane's future employment are hazards that need to be addressed by the employer. The reason that it's an issue is that Jane's statements could reflect upon your wife and the company as a whole.

The fact that Jane no longer works there is not a secret, but sharing negative information about her employment is a legal liability. Especially if Jane left her work for some reason unknown to Jill... or because of Jill. Maybe Jane has cancer? No one should guess.

I'm not defending this, but employers have to be on watch about what they say about employees. Even bad references have the potential to backfire. It's best to stick to the facts. (Jane worked here for X months, in this position, she left in this month, etc.) It might seem like a fact that Jane was a slacker, but it may not be and it's not worth risking the company just to gossip or get even with someone.
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OffWithTheirHeads Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 11:13 PM
Response to Original message
2. Fuck her
everything that has gone wrong in the company within two days of her leaving is HER fault, Unless, of course, it's Clinton's fault.
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warrens Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 11:15 PM
Response to Original message
3. dumbass
This is zero. She left. What someone else says about her AFTER means nothing.
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Rumba Donating Member (277 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 11:36 PM
Response to Original message
4. The first thing your wife should do...
Edited on Mon Nov-15-04 12:24 AM by Rumba
...is talk to HR.

I'm not sure what the law says about badmouthing a former employee, but remember, anyone can sue for anything. Whether Jane wins or loses, the company doesn't need that.

HR is your wife's ally in this. Unless they recommend otherwise, I think the next thing your wife should do is talk to Jill, and say in a non-accusatory way, "Jane is complaining about this, and I don't know if it's true or not, but please make sure not to put the company at risk by making comments that could be construed as badmouthing Jane."

By the way, one principle that applies in many of these types of disgruntled employee situations, is that once a manager knows about the situation, they are protected (to some degree?) from personal liability if they can demonstrate that they notified higher management and took action to address the grievance. If they sit on it the company gains a measure of protection and, if the situation comes to a head, the company can say the manager in question didn't follow company policy.

So involve HR, follow their advice, have non-accusatory discussions with Jill, and document everything.

(Edit) btw, how big is your wife's company, and do they have an HR group/director/whatever?

(edit2) Probably even better than talking to Jill is sending an email to everyone that works for her, stating that derogatory comments about past employees aren't appropriate. Perhaps also with a followup private conversation with Jill. And document everything.
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NewJeffCT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-15-04 08:31 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. Thanks
I told my wife to make sure that she talked to HR first. (Not that my wife wouldn't have decided that on her own...)

My wife has a few people that work for her that are not the nicest of people and they're always putting the other employees down behind another's back. My wife is trying to reform the department, but I don't think she can justify firing people over gossip.
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ScreamingMeemie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-15-04 08:35 AM
Response to Original message
6. If Jane had not quit, I think she would have a case. Otherwise, I think
her only recourse is to file a libel case against the other co worker. I'd tell your wife to speak with the company lawyers. Good luck. I'm sure she needs this type of hassle. :hi:
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