Handling A Difficult Employee - CiteHR
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Kindly help me to get out of this dilemma.one of our good performers, Mr.X , is under suspicion for badmouthing. There is no evidence against him. But CEO suspect that he is spreading bad words against the company among other employees.Ours is an SMB in IT industry with 40 employees.its a very close knit family.This person had written an article on a company event in a highly sarcastic tone in his personal blog 2 years before.Then i had not joined the company.Since then CEO of the company has been skeptical of all his actions.No action was taken after the blog incident.But now each time some harsh comments appear in suggestion box,CEO is pointing fingers at X and reason given is that X is good at english(In general other employees are weak). I have tried my best to make CEO understand but in vain.In all company events X is actively participating and helping to organize things.However there was an instance when X came to me and said openly about many issues in the company.Some issues were genuine on which we took action .some were completely out of context,which were made, in my understanding due to immaturity of X and his dislike towards the company owners.I spoke to him and tried to mentor him.X joined us as a fresher and has 2 years experience . In past 1 year 2 HR consultants had visited our company.According to one,no action can be taken without evidence. Other says its an attitude issue and such issues cannot be corrected so it is better to terminate the person.CEO also wants the person to be terminated.

If i terminate him without any evidence,i am concerned if this cause any legal hassles. Please help.

Some one please reply . i have been waiting for some inputs for long.
I have few questions, rather than responding to the employee, why is the CEO trying to silence him ?
At your level how far can you ensure that a similar situation wouldn't occur , once you release him ?
Terminating an employee for defaming the employer would remain valid, when the claims made by the employee had affected the employer with his revenue or social capital.
How far have this blog affected the firm's revenue or even 'Employee Morale'?
Please take a fresh look at the case and then decide for your course of action.
Terminating the employee, will breed fear amongst your existing employees and kill transparency .


Interesting but not a very uncommon situation!

When a competent employee talks harsh, it is normally for the larger good of the organization! No point in reacting to the harshness alone!

In this situation your CEO may or may not be right but the issue demands INTROSPECTION by the "powers that be"!

Also I notice certain absence of a "dialogue" and the reasons could be:

1) EGO of those who are custodians of the future of the organization.

2) Perhaps the said employee is talking TRUTH that hurts!

3) There is fear of people knowing the truth!

At the same time it just possible that though competent at job, the personality is careless with no regard for the protocol.

Terminating the employee's services is the LAST option that can be resorted to at any point of time.

How about taking the employee in confidence, encourage him to contribute to development of a sound and transparent organization in real terms instead of simply badmouthing! I suspect he is seeking attention! Be kind. If his remarks, observations and suggestions are GOOD for the organization when looked at dispassionately, objectively and rationally the organization has to be receptive.

Just because you don't like the package, do not throw away the valuable contents!

The case calls for counselling, reforming (as it were) and involving him in the mainstream.

While the organization must be receptive it must be stated in categorical terms and firmly that IRRESPONSIBLE conduct SHALL meet appropriate response. Value additions are welcome and could even be rewarded but PROTOCOL of decent and dignified conduct is unavoidable! These points must driven home through counseling and in the last resort we can never loose sight of the fact that the organization will always remain supreme and no individual member can be greater than the organization!

Respond to these inputs if you need to make any observations or have more queries!



July 17, 2013


Dear Bharath,

I am in complete agreement with the views of Samvedan and (Cite Contribution). From your own statement it is very clear that barring the comment posted by him in his personal blog every other thing seems to me out of the vague suspIcion and pure surmise of your CEO.Even the comment in his personal blog two years ago before your joining had a sarcastic 'tone'- that's all.You are not sure whether the comment itself was sarcastic! From your narrative about his behaviour and outlook, X seems to me a little bit extrovert and outspoken.What sort of person is your CEO? Very sensitive to criticism even if it is right? Whether his management style is employee-friendly or just result-oriented with ruthlessness? Forget about the origin - whether the "bad things" allegedly spread by someone could at least be remotely related to the goings on, if any in the company? That's what Samvedan meant by 'introspection'. When the mighty management decides to get rid of an unwanted employee, the exit could be very simple, if not ignominious. During my initial training as a directly recruited Labour Officer, I heard a senior officer citing a judgment of the Supreme Court ( sorry, now I am not able to recollect the exact citation due to efflux of time). I remember to have been told that the Court, in its 16page judgment relating to that particular case of wrongful dismissal of an employee which was set-aside consistently by all the lower forums, scolded the management in the entire breadth of its judgment but finally mentioned in the operative portion that it cannot order an unwilling employer to take back an unwanted employee in its service but fixed a hefty monetary compensation together with costs.So, if possible talk to your CEO at the most oppurtune time and suggest politely to ignore such petty things emenating from mere suspicions and consider the retention of X and at the same time, better advise X to behave properly as expected by the CEO else try his luck somewhere else and not to be a misfit in your company.Lastly about the legality of the exit of X as desired by your CEO, Law is the consummation of morality and actions. IF both are at tandem, no problem! otherwise, tell your CEO, it will be hell not withstanding the fact that IT employees have tremendous scope for employment and that's the reason for their not fighting back.

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