Note: Going through the back catalog of what I have written over here at Techwag, this one really popped out, because I never did find a solution for my friend. The incident of bad mouthing stopped after about 120 days, but there was so much bad blood after that between my friend, the company, and the old boss that I don’t think they will ever speak well of the company. I know she never talks about the company, and will divert business to other companies at every chance she gets.
Interesting thought that a friend of mine posted on one of the social networks, I won’t mention the name or the situation but the comment is:
I’m totally P.O.’d as an old boss is trying to F#%# with my livelihood, bad mouthing my design to the client Source: Best not mentioned really
We are all familiar with bosses and companies suing employees for bad mouthing the company or the boss. We are also familiar with employees getting fired for bad mouthing bosses and companies online and getting fired. Those two are fairly common and a lot more common that anyone would like to admit, but what happens when an old boss starts badmouthing former employees? This is a new wrinkle on the old adage of watch what you say, it might come back to haunt you. See your old boss is coming from a position of strength, and while HR rules might preclude them from doing anything other than verifying your employment at a company, online maybe not so much.
Everything cuts both ways, and having your boss post online that you were the worst employee, or could not meet target dates, or never finished a product, or otherwise might all be considered legitimate in the viewpoint of the boss. Of course we are all going to beg to differ, we might have not hit a deadline for one reason or another, or we might have been caught playing a video game over lunch break or shopping for the holidays while at work. We might have even been caught out doing something perfectly reasonable at the time and circumstance but looks hokey in perfect 20/20 backwards vision.
Is there recourse, of course we can always sue, but we have to make sure that we can afford the lawsuit. I do not think that there has been any kind of lawsuit like this yet, and if there is feel free to let me know where it can be located so I can read the case file and court submission.
The part that strikes me the most interesting is that bad bosses abound and might need to take their vengeance further than is normal past firing. This would be a response to be expected if you are working for a truly controlling personality, they will attempt never to let you go, or realize the thoughts in their head “you’ll never work in this town again” kind of vindictiveness.
Personally I would seriously contact a lawyer, I have seen a similar situation where I was teaching a hacking class at a school, and someone from work called the school to tell them I was teaching hacking to students. Of course I was, it was a hacking class in a controlled environment with huge safeguards built in. But when they called the local CISSP group for sanctions that was when the problems really started, and took some interesting processes to make sure that no one got hurt in the process. They were voicing a legitimate concern, but hadn’t bothered to check out all the facts. This kind of problem is also more common than we would like to admit, it happens, we clear it up and move on, but the emotions remain behind.
If you think your old boss is trying to make sure you never work in this town again, and is stating things that meet the legal guidelines for slander, then by all means do what you think best. But engage a lawyer, they are the only ones that will be sure, and can see if you even have a case. The one thing I do know for sure is to remain the adult in the room, never get upset, but explain yourself clearly and succinctly if you are dealing with an interview, new client, or new job. The only way to truly prove you are what you think you are is to live it, be it, and enjoy it.
- Social media still causing problems for employees and bosses (career-advice.monster.co.uk)
- How can I manage my manager? (career-advice.monster.co.uk)
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