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Old 08-29-2010, 09:22 PM
 
225 posts, read 633,519 times
Reputation: 347

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Well, here is the latest chapter in the craziness at my job. For those that remember, six months or so ago I was having "issues" with supervision and decided to just quit talking to anyone I work with and to just hunker down and fly under the radar to avoid detection/problems. A plan that has worked well until the past two weeks.

The latest incident involves gossip. Our female supervisor is having a relationship with one of our male coworkers. It is knowledge throughout the local division. Last week a tech from another district was on a job with a "squeeler" and mentioned the boss lady and the boyfriend. Well...it went straight back to the boss and now she is on the warpath. Lucky me, my name was mentioned, even though I was not there or involved.

Now, three of us have a "meeting" with her and two upper level managers to "discuss" this gossip problem. In our outfit, nobody can keep a secret, even the HR rep, so word is out the three of us are going to be fired for gossip, even though what was said is true.

Any HR managers here ever hear of such a thing...fired for gossip? It sounds absurd since it was not really work related and is in fact true; they have a relationship. This seems like something that should never have gotten to this level, as I wouldn't think as pissed as she is, that she would want it going before other managers and HR.

Is gossip a legitimate reason for firing, and if not what are the chances of winning a unemployment claim? I would think since it is not poor job performance, stealing etc we would be ok? Thoughts?
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Old 08-29-2010, 10:10 PM
 
25,170 posts, read 34,023,469 times
Reputation: 6701
You work at a terrible place. Having a serious meeting over such a petty problem is pathetic. And yes they can fire you for anything and everything. Corporatism is severely stupid and they do monitor the first amendment like a 17th century Puritan court system. If you get fired for gossip, start up some more gossip as long as it is true and covers the good with the bad. Gossip cannot be one sided if you put it out in the public eye. Always use the good with the bad trick. And you should be fine.
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Old 08-29-2010, 10:31 PM
 
42,284 posts, read 46,085,939 times
Reputation: 13154
Yes;you can be fired for gossip. I agree you would at a terrible placew with alot of gossips it seems. ypou can alos be sued and made to prove it.
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Old 08-29-2010, 10:34 PM
 
4,806 posts, read 11,876,219 times
Reputation: 4571
Gossip has a detrimental effect on workplace morale and effectiveness, so certainly they can fire you for gossip. They can fire you for any reason of course, but degrading morale would likely be classified as 'for cause'.

How did this tech find out about the alleged relationship? Even if you didn't tell them directly, if you were involved at some point in the chain of passing the information on, then you are involved.

And gossip is not synonymous with slander. Something is only slander if it is untrue. But gossip is gossip whether it is true or not. Something is gossip if it is communicated in a conversational manner but intended for inflammatory purposes. The topic of coworkers' relationships in their personal lives definitely qualifies as gossip. And remember, you have to separate what you actually know from what you think you know. Even if you have personally seen these two people fornicating, you don't know that they are in a relationship.
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Old 08-29-2010, 11:05 PM
 
Location: square thing with a roof
894 posts, read 594,203 times
Reputation: 771
Yes, you can be fired for gossip. It's called "creating discord in the workplace" and is not illegal for an employer to terminate employment for that reason.

However, they cannot fire you for gossip you were not involved in. Just because someone mentioned your name (and you weren't there) does not put the burden of proof on you. The employer must be able to prove that you took place in the activity, directly or indirectly.

As you stated, you were not present when this took place so legally they can't terminate you for something you did not take part in. If they do in fact fire you for it, I'd see a lawyer for wrongful termination of employment, if it were me.
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Old 08-30-2010, 01:23 AM
 
Location: Bradenton, Florida
27,237 posts, read 26,804,402 times
Reputation: 10587
An aside to this:

In most companies, either the male or female must transfer, terminate their employment, or terminate their relationship.
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Old 08-30-2010, 01:58 AM
 
25,170 posts, read 34,023,469 times
Reputation: 6701
All of the posters have proven that corporatism is incredibly stupid and moronic. Corporate and university authorities don't want anyone spreading "gossip" because they want all their dirty little secrets to be kept a secret. Gossipers cannot be trusted with dirty company secrets. It has nothing to do with tearing down the "morale" especially when the morale is already horse-crap.
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Old 09-04-2010, 04:36 PM
 
2,759 posts, read 1,881,980 times
Reputation: 3014
Quote:
Originally Posted by {geek} View Post
Yes, you can be fired for gossip. It's called "creating discord in the workplace" and is not illegal for an employer to terminate employment for that reason.

However, they cannot fire you for gossip you were not involved in. Just because someone mentioned your name (and you weren't there) does not put the burden of proof on you. The employer must be able to prove that you took place in the activity, directly or indirectly.

As you stated, you were not present when this took place so legally they can't terminate you for something you did not take part in. If they do in fact fire you for it, I'd see a lawyer for wrongful termination of employment, if it were me.
Is there such a thing as "wrongful termination of employment" if one works for an "at will" employer? I'm not saying that the poster indicated the employer is "at will"; I just think all employers are ...
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Old 09-04-2010, 06:13 PM
 
Location: Ayrsley
4,614 posts, read 5,087,480 times
Reputation: 3589
Quote:
Originally Posted by artsyguy View Post
All of the posters have proven that corporatism is incredibly stupid and moronic. Corporate and university authorities don't want anyone spreading "gossip" because they want all their dirty little secrets to be kept a secret. Gossipers cannot be trusted with dirty company secrets. It has nothing to do with tearing down the "morale" especially when the morale is already horse-crap.
That was a helpful response...not!
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Old 09-04-2010, 06:53 PM
 
39 posts, read 122,902 times
Reputation: 80
Yes, you can be terminated for this and, no, it does not matter if you were really involved. Even if you were not involved, you would not be able to sue the company successfully for wrongful termination. However, you may be able to collect unemployment unless you broke a specific workplace policy, such as one that prohibits office gossip.
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