Disgruntled ex-employee posting negative reviews. Can I do something?

I have an ex-employee that is posting negative comments about my company all over the internet on review sites telling customers how things "really" work here. For example, we have a policy that our major accounts are given special treatment. He has posted "unless you have a big account you aren’t considered important". That’s not true. All of our customers are important, we just have a different set of standards for our major accounts. He is also talking about some incidents that happened with customers that we would prefer not to be made public. Is there anything I can do to get him to stop?

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11 thoughts on “Disgruntled ex-employee posting negative reviews. Can I do something?

  1. ∞infiniti∞ says:

    As long as he is telling the truth, he is not breaking any laws.
    You do have a different set of standards depending on the size of the account. As for the embarrassing incidents, again, if what he says is true he not breaking any laws.

  2. RockIt says:

    Not if he is telling the truth. Not if you can’t point at actual damages. Treat your employees better next time since they "know" things you would prefer they keep to themselves.

  3. Russ says:

    Unless he is posting false information there would be little that you could do. If you have an employee agreement where he could not disclose certain information – then you may have a chance.

  4. jjt says:

    as long as every thing he says has truth to it then there is nothing you can do

  5. Dan H says:

    Yep, you can ignore this person – time will make him go away. If you try to fight him directly, he will make this a crusade against you.

    You need to review all of your policies for fairness and see if his complaints have any credibility. If they do, change the policies. If they don’t, it’s business as usual.

    Do some contact on your customers. Assure them that each one of them is as important as the next. Point out your successes with each of them as necessary. You shouldn’t be trying to counter his claims, that’s joining him fight. You should always be assuring your clients that you deliver in full on time every time. If you are delivering your product on time and as ordered to each customer, what’s the problem? Tighten up your delivery systems, produce and deliver your product ahead of time every time. If you have any lingering difficulties from ‘incidents’ with any clients, clear them up with those clients now and make sure that stuff never happens again.

    The only thing you can do against this guy is to sue him and hope a judge will put a gag order against him. Unfortunately, the burden of proof is going to be on you and you are in a gray area of ‘He said, She said’ with just enough truth on both sides that it’s difficult to prove that he is really harming your ability to continue business.

    As far as the negativity on the internet, he is just one person. As a client, I expect that any business will have a failure or two, a disgruntled client or two. What I look for is a company that has a good track record with a majority of it’s customers. If some of his comments are vindictive and dishonest, you might try contacting the individual web sites and ask that they review his comments, but I would be careful there, you don’t want word to get out that you censor negative feedback about your company.

  6. kch05 says:

    I was an employee of a major pharmaceutical company for 23 years. I was laid-off, despite good annual reviews. I showed up for work, always did my job, and complained very little. Can I get his number?

  7. Robert says:

    Posting opinions on the Internet is a grey area of the defamation laws unless you have absolute proof of 1) falsehood of the accusation(s), 2) Malice and not opinion of the publisher, in this case your former employee, and, in your case, 3) proof of monetary damages.

    In principle, to prove defamation, a private individual or business entity must show:

    A. The statement in question was made to at least one person other than the alleged defamed party;
    B. The statement was false ;
    C. It was understood that the statement concerned the plaintiff (the defamed party) whether or not the person was named, and tended to harm the reputation of the plaintiff.

    However, as noted in the beginning, honest opinions count as a defense, and they are not often difficult to establish. The process is also very expensive and drawn out, and your money might better be spent on creative forms of counter-advertising.

    The decision is yours. Should you decide to pursue litigation, your claim would be for "trade libel" and must prove financial damage.

  8. Laura says:

    Part of me thinks that you should combat this by making sure your current employees are happy and asking them to express their feelings online.

    Let your actions speak for themselves and try to get the positive to outway the negative.

  9. Shawn says:

    I have to disagree with Dan regarding the “ignore him” advice. When dealing with social media and the power of the internet, the absolute worst thing you can possibly do is ignore him. While he might eventually go away, his negative comments will be there to spark conversations among people all over the world for a while to come.

    Your best bet is a PR crisis management basic: transparency. Go directly to where he or anyone else is posting and address the statements with the truth. Do not open it for debate… do not be argumentative. Very simply say “So that everyone understands what Mr. X is talking about, here is our policy…” and then spell it out.

    The same advice goes for incidents. You don’t have to specify names or specifics, but give a general overview of the situation, how it was handled, and admit if you feel it could have been handled better.

    The point here is that the public appreciates honesty. Honesty disarms your opponent. Again, don’t go in to defend yourself or argue, simply tell the facts and get out. Also, and again, be honest to the public in your self evaluation of any situation and tell how you or your business will grow from what you learned through that experience.

    Follow that advice and feel free to contact me should you need further assistance.

    Shawn Neal

  10. Gordon Blair says:

    I just surfed onto this blog. I was specifically looking for ” disgruntled ex employees ” on a search engine.

    I am interested in doing a Research Thesis on the topic.

    What has attracted my interest, is I was also a person unfairly treated my a number of employers. I also noted from infamous sources, such as the movie
    ‘ The Killing of America ‘ ( and a number of events in Australia as well ), that ex employees who are unfairly treated; dismissed without due process, or by any means ( in THEIR mind ) mistreated – thre can be severe consequences afterward.
    Be very careful of former employees who you have terminated. You must be absolutely fair and transparent in the dismissal process, otherwise you ‘could’ have a potential criminal revenge attack upon your business, or worse you ( as the employer ), and your employees.

    Eg. Melbourne’s Hoddle Street event – unfairly dismissed Post Office worker. Killed several fellow employees with firearm.

    there are many case studies of situations, where the employer actually contributed to a mass murder situation – by not being more careful how they dimissed an employee. The average person probably won’t pick up on the ‘psychological signs’ of a potentially dangerous employee about to be terminated for whatever.

  11. Rocky4 says:

    RockIt:
    you are assuming that the employee was ill-treated. There is a myth out there that all companies are bad and any employee is inherently good. So, everyone you have ever worked with has been pure of soul, helpful to all, good intentions, considerate, values other feelings and ideas? If you answer ‘yes’ to that, you have not been in the workforce for very long at all.

    All of the advice on this feed is constructive and fact based. RockIt, you may want to put the judge’s gavel away if you lack the ability to formulate opinions based on facts.

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