Protection from Disgruntled Ex-Employee?

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Latest post 02-23-2011 11:22 PM by Cica. 5 replies.
  • 02-23-2011 6:45 PM

    Protection from Disgruntled Ex-Employee?

    I hope this is the correct forum for this issue, I'd really like to know what people think.

    A disgruntled ex-employee of my organization is making trouble, and I'm wondering if we should or even can take any legal action.

    The ex-employee has been careful to make no specific threats, but has been sending emails and saying things to various employees that sound ominous and are certainly meant to make people afraid ("It's going to be a long, cold winter around here", etc). The ex-employee has also been lying to financial backers of the organization, saying that the firing was unjust, and generally trying to turn our supporters against us, causing a lot of trouble as we spend an inordinate amount of time dealing with their stirred up feelings instead of getting our work done. The ex-employee is also doing other petty things to waste our time, seems to be actively badmouthing the organization in the community, at least hinting enough so that many people have become angry, and trying to get information from board members and employees. I was stopped on the street by an ex-supporter who yelled at me in public, which I found very distressing. I have also witnessed the ex-employee cruising around the area and glaring at people.

    Our board has taken a cautious stance, since the ex-employee seems litigacious, so there is no way to just say to these people "That person was hostile and didn't do their job, and we had to fire them". 

    But do we have to put up with all of this abuse? The ex-employee has been extremely careful so that none of it looks like evidence of anything, but isn't this some sort of terrorism? It has been nearly a year since the ex-employee was removed. Everyone seems to be on the side of "the Man is wrong for taking out the underdog! We're all victims!" but this person really did some bad things, and has not responded to attempts to work things out in a civil manner!

    This is a hire/fire-at-will state anyway!

  • 02-23-2011 7:51 PM In reply to

    • Cica
      Consumer
    • Top 25 Contributor
    • Joined on 09-23-2003
    • Posts 6,519

    Re: Protection from Disgruntled Ex-Employee?

    Have you turned the threat letters over to/filed complaint with the PD and DA?  If the letters are coming in on company e-mails, have IT block the IP address to junk mail.

    You might want to have an attorney forward a cease-and-desist.

    enoughofthis:
    Our board has taken a cautious stance, since the ex-employee seems litigacious, so there is no way to just say to these people "That person was hostile and didn't do their job, and we had to fire them". 

    That's interesting.  None of them are public servants?  If your concerns actually surface to physical harm, they'd have lots of 'splaining to do.

     

  • 02-23-2011 7:56 PM In reply to

    Re: Protection from Disgruntled Ex-Employee?

    Until he actually causes damage (liek a financial backer pulls out) there is no legal action to take. But if someone comes to you and asks why you fired this guy who says all this stuff I would be honest and say there were performance issues and leave it at that. It's true and sufficiently vague not to cause any real problem for him. he may still sue, but he'll lose if you can back it up.

  • 02-23-2011 9:11 PM In reply to

    Re: Protection from Disgruntled Ex-Employee?

    We haven't reported any of it, because no actual threats have been made, but the communication feels uncomfortable and threatening, just by the tone - it's like the mafia that makes a vague reference to a new cement floor or something - you can't say it's a threat, but it certainly seems like one.

  • 02-23-2011 10:45 PM In reply to

    • Drew
      Consumer
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 03-30-2000
    • PA
    • Posts 49,103

    Re: Protection from Disgruntled Ex-Employee?

    Sometimes to strike back creates a mud fight--and your odds are only a pig will like a mud fight.

    Keep good records--and if he goes way over the line as to libel/slander/extortion---then review how to fire back with law enforcement or counsel.

    Might update you managers /board as to where some comments cross the line.

    But to a large extent free speech means one is free to runabout making statements as to his opinion



  • 02-23-2011 11:22 PM In reply to

    • Cica
      Consumer
    • Top 25 Contributor
    • Joined on 09-23-2003
    • Posts 6,519

    Re: Protection from Disgruntled Ex-Employee?

    I work with a state agency and deal with "special" clientele.  Words like a "long, cold winter" in combination with other actions could come across as an implicit threat.  Any call or video-recorded encounter that I'm not comfortable with gets forwarded to the cops to do a background check on the person.  This is to determine if he/she is a 5150 on the loose.

    Our board members are in charge of legislation, policy, administration and finance.  I'm in charge of my life.

    enoughofthis:
    The ex-employee is also doing other petty things to waste our time, seems to be actively badmouthing the organization in the community, at least hinting enough so that many people have become angry, and trying to get information from board members and employees. I was stopped on the street by an ex-supporter who yelled at me in public, which I found very distressing ...

    If you are of mgmt capacity I'd encourage you to discuss everything that is taking place with these board members.  If you aren't mgmt level, you might consider running what is taking place past an attorney for some suggestions.

    Good luck!

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