Can my manager tell someone that I was fired, and why?

I worked for a company for over four years. I learned during that time that my manager was close friends with a cousin of mine, whom I do not get along with. I was fired recently, and found out that my manager not only told his friend, my cousin, that I was fired, but also why I was fired. Can he do this?

Posted 01-01-2012

Steve Duggan replies:

No, it was clearly wrong for your former manager to tell anyone without a need to know, including your friends and family members, that you were fired and the reason that you were fired. An employee has a right to privacy with respect to such employment information, particularly the reason for the termination. On a practical level, I am not sure what remedy is available to you, though. Litigation costs money and, unless you can find a lawyer willing to front costs for you and take the case on a contingency basis and can show significant damages, the potential recovery doesn’t appear on these facts alone to warrant the expense. I am not aware of any agency that you could make a complaint to. So, the only likely remedy is merely a complaint about the manager to your former employer, which should be concerned enough about a blabber-mouth manager to take some action if it finds the evidence warrants such a conclusion.


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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.