Can an employer post an employee written warning in a public space?

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Can an employer post an employee written warning in a public space?

I was terminated for refusing to sign a written warning. I recently discovered that the employer has posted my written warning at each location where all employees can see the written warning

Asked on December 7, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Yes, so long as their was no non-disclosure, confidentiality, or non-disparagement agreement (such as might be contained in a separation agreement) and no clause or term in an employment (or union) contract barring this, then as a general matter they would seem to be able to do it. That does not mean, however, that under the specific facts they might be be acting improperly; for example:

1) No release of protected private information, such as anything health related, certain identifiers (like a social security number), etc.

2) If the information in the document they've posted makes a factual assertion which is not true, they may have committed  defamation about you, and you may be entitled to sue them for that.

3) If they are treating you differently than other employees (e.g. haven't done this to other employees who refused to sign such a warning), and that differential treatment is based on discrimination againt your race, religion, age over 40,  disability, sex, etc., that may be illegal discrimination.

4) If they are treating you this way as retaliation for having complained about legal or safety violations, or having brought a complaint against discrimination or for overtime, or having filed for Worker's Compensation or FMLA leave, that may be improper.

So, generally, it may be possible to release information about what an employee has done to merit discipline or termination, but there are many circumstances under which doing so is improper.


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