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  1. #1
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    Sep 2008
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    Unhappy Can Employer Share Reason for a Termination with Their Peers?

    My question involves labor and employment law for the state of: California

    A peer of mine in the large company I work for was recently terminated for a violation of the company's code of business conduct. The manager this individual reported to sent an email to a distribution list of groups to notify of the termination and have access removed, etc the day after the person was terminated and it stated that it was a termination for a violation of the code of business conduct (fired). However, the manager sent this to all of the individual's peers at the same level who are never supposed to learn of the reason for the termination (company policy as well as to protect that person's privacy).

    This manager has been retaliatory against many subordinates in present and past, as well as had their favorites. Can this individual sue the company/that manager? Several of this person's peers, myself included are fairly angry about the reason being shared (up until then, the person was assumed to have simply left the company abruptly) because many of us liked and respected the person and feel they've been terribly wronged.

  2. #2
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    Aug 2007
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    Default Re: Can Employer Share Reason for a Termination with Their Peers?

    Very unprofessional and unethical, but if if rises to a cause of action, i.e. a genuine basis to sue, you need to consult an attorney, as this seems like a difficult one to know. It may very well be an invasion of privacy, etc.??

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Can Employer Share Reason for a Termination with Their Peers?

    there is nothing sacred about why a person was fired. It may violate company policy but the law does not limit the boss from revealing why a person was terminated.

    if the boss wants to call up the janitor to his office and tell him, he can.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Can Employer Share Reason for a Termination with Their Peers?

    Yes, an employer can share the reason for termination with anyone they like. Whether it is "unprofessional" or "unethical" depends on who it is and why.

  5. #5
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    Il.(near StL,Mo.)
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    Default Re: Can Employer Share Reason for a Termination with Their Peers?

    Agree with jk & cbg - nothing illegal done & see nothing to sue for.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Can Employer Share Reason for a Termination with Their Peers?

    Quote Quoting cbg
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    Yes, an employer can share the reason for termination with anyone they like. Whether it is "unprofessional" or "unethical" depends on who it is and why.
    While this is per se true, in my experience employers LOVE to blab to others, who have no business knowing, that they terminated an employee, they love to show off that power.

    I worked at a business many many years ago where the boss was a first class clown. Every employee who worked there was told so and so was getting fired or had gotten fired.

    That is my business?? Nope!! To me that is an unethcial business practice.

  7. #7
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    Red face Re: Can Employer Share Reason for a Termination with Their Peers?

    Thank you all for the replies. In the very code of business conduct that this manager apparently used to terminate this employee is a section holding this manager to privacy in all separations, so this manager violated the COBC. While I do not know exactly why my peer was terminated and it may be for a very just reason (I've not had contact with this person), I was livid at our manager doing such a thing. I feel that the former employee has a right to know that the code he is stated to have violated was violated by the manager who terminated this individual. Even if there is no basis for a suit, I would like to see the manager held accountable for unethical behaivor that violates the company's policy. In our great at-will state, hopefully the company will see the intelligence of letting the manager pack their bags too.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Can Employer Share Reason for a Termination with Their Peers?

    Quote Quoting Kimi2008
    View Post
    Thank you all for the replies. In the very code of business conduct that this manager apparently used to terminate this employee is a section holding this manager to privacy in all separations, so this manager violated the COBC.

    This is basically the very thing I was alluding to, invasion of privacy/breach of trust.

    Here you proffer it was a breach of a confidentiality document, so be it.

    Whether it is defacto invasion of privacy, is the 1st Q, and if it is, does it rise to the level of a cause of action??

    I have seen managers terminate an employee right in front of other employees. That is asking for legal trouble, but the company never admits liability when sued.

    Some jurisdictions recognize torts for humiliation and embarassment.

  9. #9
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    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: Can Employer Share Reason for a Termination with Their Peers?

    That is my business?? Nope!! To me that is an unethcial business practice.[
    unethical; sure. Illegal; no

    [QUOTE]
    Quote Quoting BOR
    View Post
    This is basically the very thing I was alluding to, invasion of privacy/breach of trust.

    Here you proffer it was a breach of a confidentiality document, so be it.

    Whether it is defacto invasion of privacy, is the 1st Q, and if it is, does it rise to the level of a cause of action??
    She is talking about a businesses internal Code of Business Conduct. That is a a businesses way of listing what the company deems proper conduct. It is not legally binding. It can be changed at any time by the company.

    I
    have seen managers terminate an employee right in front of other employees. That is asking for legal trouble, but the company never admits liability when sued.
    It happens all the time. While it is callous, it is not illegal. Actually, many do it for "effect". It says "look, I fired this guy. I want you all to see this and realize it is just as easy to fire you". A tool managers use all the time.

    There are no laws that say an employee has to be taken into a nice quiet private room to be terminated.

    Some jurisdictions recognize torts for humiliation and embarassment.
    sure is but where do you see either claim for the fired employee? The memo was sent the following day when the fired employee was not even there so he could not be embarrassed or humiliated.


    Please read the OP's original post again.
    A peer of mine in the large company I work for was recently terminated for a violation of the company's code of business conduct. The manager this individual reported to sent an email to a distribution list of groups to notify of the termination and have access removed, etc the day after the person was terminated and it stated that it was a termination for a violation of the code of business conduct (fired). However, the manager sent this to all of the individual's peers at the same level who are never supposed to learn of the reason for the termination (company policy as well as to protect that person's privacy).
    Technically, based upon the OP's post, the reason was not distributed in the memo. It stated they were fired for a violation of the code of business.

    Which one? Actually, I would think telling everybody this would actually be a good thing. If there was no reason mentioned, folks are free to speculate. This way, everybody knows is was merely a code of conduct violation rather than some illegal activity or incompetence. They just didn't wear blue shirts on Thursday.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Can Employer Share Reason for a Termination with Their Peers?

    BOR
    This is basically the very thing I was alluding to, invasion of privacy/breach of trust.

    Here you proffer it was a breach of a confidentiality document, so be it.

    Whether it is defacto invasion of privacy, is the 1st Q, and if it is, does it rise to the level of a cause of action??

    Quote Quoting jk
    View Post
    She is talking about a businesses internal Code of Business Conduct. That is a a businesses way of listing what the company deems proper conduct. It is not legally binding. It can be changed at any time by the company.
    I was not talking about a wrongful discharge claim per se, but other tort actions, as I mentioned. Some courts have deemed employee handbook contents as just that, legally binding, on an employer, an "implied contract" if you will. If her privacy was breached as a result of a handbook/policy violation, all I am saying is it "could" be actionable. As always in employment law, there may be a "fine line" of tort here, a Right of action, as we know, is certainly a far cry from a Cause of Action.

    The main point was, when such egregious behavior is documented, it may at times rise to the level of being tortious.

    BOR; Some jurisdictions recognize torts for humiliation and embarassment.

    sure is but where do you see either claim for the fired employee? The memo was sent the following day when the fired employee was not even there so he could not be embarrassed or humiliated.


    Please read the OP's original post again.

    I understand this. It was not meant to categorize it as an element the poster suffered, just a side note, so in that sense, let me clear that up, yes.

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