There are plenty of horror stories about disgruntled employees who have harmed their employer as well as their own career through retaliation. Some workers have been known to leak company secrets, slander the company, take clients from the company, or even destroy files. In more serious cases, a worker might steal money, data, or company property. Some unfortunate companies have experienced employee meltdowns involving physical violence and property damage.
More recently, a major trend for disgruntled employees is for them to hack into the company’s databases after they’ve been fired. In fact, it’s being suggested that the recent Sony hack may have been linked with a disgruntled ex-Sony employee, rather than solely on North Korea. This just goes to show the lengths that some might go to just to “get back” at their previous boss or employer.
How Should Employers Handle Disgruntled Employees?
For employers who are dealing with an unhappy employee, it helps to address the problem as soon as you’re made aware of it. Allowing a complaint to linger can make things worse both for the individual employee’s morale and for the company overall. Be sure to document all correspondences, and follow company procedures and local laws for reporting. Many wrongful termination and whistle blowing cases begin with a disgruntled employee issue. So, managing disgruntled employees right away can help prevent further issues in the long run.
You should understand that employee complaints can often lead to positive changes and improvements in the company. This is true even for feedback from employees who have already been terminated. Healthy communication should be encouraged in order to provide outlets for discussion and to help prevent workplace conflicts.
Tips for Employees
Retaliating against an employer may lead to a lost job and a damaged reputation. If you retaliate through thievery, damaging property, or hacking, you may even find yourself facing criminal charges.
It’s important to communicate your issues in a professional manner. Many workplace disputes can be solved simply by filing a complaint with HR or by speaking to a supervisor. All workplaces should have some mechanisms for internally resolving disputes.
It also helps tremendously if you can understand why you are upset. This can help you begin looking at options for changes. Are you simply unhappy with your choice of careers? Perhaps it’s time for a voluntary change of jobs. Or, are you facing a definite legal issue, such as workplace discrimination or a wage dispute? These can be dealt with directly and in a definite manner; sometimes being able to pinpoint your issue so you can begin to get actual relief for your problem.
Authored by Jose Rivera, LegalMatch Legal Writer