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Ways of Avoiding Defamation by Employees
by David Wicks Mon, 02/13/2017 - 14:32
Did you know that the highest number of employee defamation claims involve employee management? Well, employee management defamation claims relate to the statements made in the course of employee firing or disciplining.
In the second case, you have claims regarding negative statements made about former employees. Typical responses to requests for job references can land you in trouble. In the third and last case, defamation claims arise from ahostile work environment. Yes, showing tolerance to defamatory statements in the workplace lands a company in trouble.
It is impossible to speak positive words at all times, especially when disciplining or firing but you must exercise caution. Avoid defamation claims with these steps:
1. Maintain high levels of integrity
Your business must place a high value on personal integrity in all correspondences. Trustworthiness and integrity should be maintained when assessing employees. Integrity is gold and it cannot be acquired. Skills can be acquired.
2. Be watchful
Once you are slapped with a defamation claim, you will realize that you may have seen the signals but chosen to ignore them. Encourage open communication with your employees. Listen to employee concerns and watch out for signs of disgruntlement among your employees. Remember that employees come first and they are always right. Fix the problem or make changes.
3. Restrict access to sensitive personal information
Information is dangerous in the wrong hands. Password protection is important in restricting access to confidential information. Client information must be safely stored as well. Information databases should be protected too. Invasion of privacy can be used by an employee to fight your company.
4. Adopting a reference policy
The great lawyers at sanmarcoslawyer.org recommend the adoption of a reference policy to avoid libel. The reference policy should have the instructions for all employees to forward their requests for their current or former employee references. These references should be directed to the appropriate individual or department.
If an employee enters a separation agreement with the employer, the document must state the exact professional referencing. The employee will be limited to disclosureof their job titles and employment dates.
To prevent derogatory statements at the workplace, employees must be trained on professional talk. The sixth sense on communication etiquette lacks in many individuals and training is the first step to preventing defamation claims. Employees should be aware of the adoption and enforcement of a zero-tolerance policy for any form of derogatory talk.
6. Avoid compelled self-publication
Compelled self-publication is a situation where an employee is terminated upon evidence of defamation. The terminated employee is required to disclose the reason for termination by the prospective employer. Here, the terminated employee will defame herself or himself. This will come back and bite you. Avoid any of this from happening by being careful when determining the cause or the basis for termination of employees.
In conclusion, you can only do so much. Some cases are complicated and you lose but with the six tips above, you can keep your company safe.