Do other employees have a right to know if a co-worker quit, or was fired?

I fired an employee, but only told his co-workers that he and the company had “parted ways” on the effective date. I am being criticized now for creating a misunderstanding over whether he quit or was fired. How much can we tell other employees about why an employee left?

Posted  06-15-2015

Steve Duggan replies:

I don’t see anything wrong with what you told other employees. The only thing they should be told, as a matter of privacy, is that he was no longer with the company and any other information they may need to do their jobs. They don’t have a “right” to any other information. As with any other matter that may result in gossip, employees should be told that simply that as a matter of respect and privacy and productivity, they should not be speculating about anything more.

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About the Author:

Steve Duggan graduated from the Law School at the University of Notre Dame while on active duty in the Air Force. He has extensive experience representing management litigating cases of wrongful termination, employment discrimination, and sexual harassment. Steve also has experience in all phases of administrative litigation of unfair labor practice charges, and class and individual complaints of employment discrimination. He has been an instructor of seminars for supervisors and managers on labor management relations and other personnel issues, and for lawyers in basic and advanced trial advocacy courses. Steve came on board with Fair Measures in 1998.