False Rumors About Being Fired

Question:

I resigned from a company this past July. I was in management. I have come in contact with a person who has told me that management told people that I was fired. I was not asked to leave, and I left on my own volition. I have heard things like I was fired because of losing company keys, to just the plain statement that I was fired and I could never come back. This is not true and it bothers me. No one would like people to gossip and say that they were fired when they weren’t. To be fired means that I did something so wrong that the company asked me to leave. This was not the case. I feel that my character is being tarnished and my reputation is being dragged through the mad. True I don’t work there anymore, but still, no one would like lies to be told about why they left the company. Is this slander? And do I have any legal grounds with my former company? Please let me know because this is really, really bothering me.

Signed,

Resigned


Answer:

Dear Resigned:

Your frustration about false rumors that make you look bad appears to border on slander, but to make a case for slander usually you need proof of harm done. We do not provide legal advice; however, I recommend that you meet with an attorney, possibly with the HR and/or attorney of the company from which you resigned. Provide the hearsay evidence you have of the firing rumors, of who said what to whom, and ask the attorney’s advice. A company possibly can be held liable for any false information that is circulated about a past employee.

You were in management and know that rumors frequently circulate and especially do when someone departs. You may want to request a document that states that you resigned and were not fired for a cause. An attorney can advise if that is a way to protect you should you ever need such evidence. Also, keep a file of evaluations and projects you completed from your previous employment.

This unhappy experience should also be viewed as a learning one for you as a manager; learning what can happen when someone resigns and how to deal with rumors. Do let us know what you learn. My best to you in your new job.

Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS.

William Gorden