Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about malicious gossip:
My employers have accused me of spreading malicious gossip about the company, and I have received a letter from a lawyer stating that my employer has accused me of telling untruths about the reputation of the company. What can I do about this?
Signed, Accused of Speaking Ill
Dear Accused of Speaking Ill:
Did you purposely badmouth your company? What have you been informed that you said? And did you in fact say something that was false? Answers to these are questions apparently are now in the hands of an attorney for your company. We don’t advise on legal matters, but we can advise you to consult an attorney. Usually you can consult a lawyer without a fee, and you can get an opinion regarding if you have spoken in ways that can be judged as slanderous and can learn whether the attorney would be willing to represent you and at what cost.Meanwhile you can reflect on what was heard as untrue and if you spoke about your employer falsely and maliciously; of what might you have said that is false and/or malicious, when and to whom. An attorney can advise you as to whether you should inquire of your employer or his attorney as to of what specifically you are accused. For sure, the best advice at this point is not to repeat anything that is false or could be construed as untrue.
Slander is slippery. It is difficult to prove malice and to show harm. Some such matters can be resolved by an apology. Others, when harm can be proved, can result in mediation or a penalty such as firing and payment. Probably and hopefully this matter can be quietly resolved. Turning to the law can be costly and is not resolved quickly. I’m sure you are stressed by this; however, try not to become obsessed and make it an unending matter of conversation with friends, family or coworkers.
Hang in there and determine during this stressful time to do good work and be of good cheer. It will not help you to see your employer as an enemy. Might it be possible for you to do that with chin up? When we are upset over something that seems unfair by our employer it is common to vent our anger. But might you learn from this to not say negative things about others to others that you would not first say to them? The odds are that the whole matter will be dropped. Our readers and we would benefit for learning how this situation is resolved. Therefore drop us a note if and when you can see your way clear to do so. Work is hard enough without being accused of malice by your employer. Rather really what you want is to be able to speak good of your workplace. A company’s welfare and your hinge on working together with hands, head, and heart; and that takes and makes big WEGOS.