What happens when former employees defame and harass their employer
As if it wasn't enough of a hard and emotional task to do when you had to let a former employee go, but to then find out that the former employee is posting defamation, harassing information or hate speech online about you or about your business could be devastating.
It is hard to imagine that former employees that you may have worked well with and really respected, sometime in the past, could do anything quite so horrendous as embarking on a malicious, defamatory campaign of harassment targeted at your business; making you feel that your organisation, professional and personal life has been hijacked. Here, we offer ex-employer defamation help. You cannot control what your ex-employees do online after they leave but protecting yourself as much as possible beforehand, is good practice.
Defamation and harassment against ex-employers, or defamation against a company can leave you feeling anxious and apprehensive and wondering what to do about it, as quickly as possible, without causing further damage. If you have had the arduous task of making a few redundancies, you might find that on occasions those ex-employees are disgruntled and want to throw dirt at your company and want their dispute to be known. They could embark on a collaborative negative online defamation campaign against ex-employers using blogs, forums, discussion groups, social media and email and text harassment against you. Fake Reviews by ex-employees are the most common cause for employers to ask for help to remove online reviews from the internet.
This leaves you feeling worried about your organisation and fearful about how far reaching it will be. Whether they are untrue statements or true statements that are intermingled in their angry defamatory posts, you might be in a quandary about whether to respond to the online harassment publicly, talk to the harassers personally and where you stand legally, if the defamation is continuing. It is hard to know what to do without making the situation worse.
They could encourage troll groups to join them in their defamatory postings, known as dogpiling, using tactics to overwhelm the former employer with humiliation and threats. Some ex-employees have contacted existing customers, hacked into their previous work email and social media accounts and posted private information and false accusations about their former employer, including super imposed naked pictures about them to maximise the reputational damage. Some libellous postings can make peers and customers doubt your professional skills and knowledge and can cause mistrust and reduced sales and investment in no time.
Posting slanderous messages about how disgruntled they are on a public platform, could be grounds for a defamation suit and what defamation perpetrators also fail to realise is that their proactive attempts to conceal their true identities when posting defamation against ex-employers, can be viewed as dishonest by a court, if it gets that far, and might substantially diminish the credibility of allegations they may make during any subsequent legal proceedings.
One of the preferred methods for ex-employees to harass former employers is by posting on a website called GlassDoor. You can find out how to remove posts from GlassDoor.
Responding publicly can add legitimacy to their 'defamation against ex-employers' complaints, and add fuel to the fire and you also need to be very careful with employer-employee confidentiality and privileged information laws. You may have called the police, having turned up to your place of work and found graffiti on your building or having been threatened with violence, as part of their defamation against ex-employers campaign.
You may also be left wondering what the police can do about it and how long it will take, since harassment is a criminal offence as well as a civil wrongdoing but often, it can take a long time to go to court, if going down the criminal route. Many ex-employees that post online defamation against ex-employers go under an anonymous name and could deny it to the police and it may prove difficult and time consuming for the police to ascertain that they are the culprits, and ultimately, your first priority is getting the defamation removed as soon as possible, before it escalates.
If left undetected, the angry ex-employees could go on to purchase search engine optimisation internet services to help promote their campaign of hate online by ensuring that the anger-fuelled defamation against ex-employers, is seen by as many people as possible. Alternatively, they might start posting fake online reviews. You can read more about defamation against a company.
More often than not, the perpetrator of defamation and harassment against ex-employers will get bored or distracted, and just stop. Some clients of ours found, that after contacting their harassing ex-employee and asking them to come in for a chat, that this solved the issue but this is a rare occurrence, since some people have serious anger issues and have taken it very personally.
You cannot control what your ex-employees do online after they leave and you may feel that you did the best exit interview that you could and provided good references, so it may be hard for you to process that someone that you worked well with in the past, could set out to destroy your reputation.
To try and prevent harassment by ex-employees happening in the first place, try to follow this guidance.
On having to let people go, document everything to protect yourself and your company. Always keep track of any negative interactions after an exit interview or termination. Even before you terminate an employee's contract, make it a habit to document warnings and discussions beforehand. Make sure that you have honest and open communications and give clear, understandable reasons for your decision, and be willing to let them process that information and ask questions.
Avoid addressing the delicate issues in a press release or an intranet and creating an atmosphere of distrust, fear and resentment. Letting someone go is always emotional and ensure that you do your best to have an open and constructive discussion. Let them see the financial reasons for letting them go, if this is the cause for redundancy.
Most importantly perhaps, don't ever treat former employees as though they no longer mean anything to you. Offer to provide references and try to help them out and keep good relationships with them, even if they leave on bad terms. When delivering news of employment termination, deliver the news to your employees as quickly as possible after you or management have decided on a course of action and do listen to your employees.
If you need assistance with removing any online negative reviews or starting a defamation case, contact Cohen Davis for a comprehensive consultation. Very often, a cease and desist letter from us could stop the defamation against ex-employers from going any further and save you a lot of time and angst: 0800-612-7211.