Can my employer legally reveal the reason for my resignation to other employees or constituents such as parents of my students?

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Can my employer legally reveal the reason for my resignation to other employees or constituents such as parents of my students?

The reasons for my resignation are complex and include, in part, extreme unhappiness at the treatment I’ve received. But I don’t want them implying that I quit without reason and that it was not due to actions taken by them, and I don’t want speculation to arise because of hints but not facts. I just don’t think it’s anyone’s business why I quit.

Asked on August 27, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Your employer cannot reveal the reasons for your resignation to other employees or to the parents of your students without your consent.

You could sue your employer for invasion of privacy.  There are different types of invasion of privacy.  The type which is applicable to your situation is the public disclosure of private facts which occurred when your employer disclosed the reasons for your resignation to others.  Your lawsuit for invasion of privacy could include a separate cause of action (claim) for intentional infliction of emotional distress.  Intentional infliction of emotional distress is an extreme and outrageous act intended to cause and which does cause you emotional distress. It may be difficult to prove that your employer intended to cause you emotional distress by disclosing the reasons for your resignation.  Therefore, instead of intentional infliction of emotional distress, it would be easier for you to prove negligent infliction of emotional distress in which you would not need to establish your employer's intent.  Under negligent infliction of emotional distress, your employer owed you a duty of due care to prevent foreseeable harm (emotional distress) by not disclosing the reasons for your resignation.  Your employer breached the duty of due care by disclosing the reasons for your resignation which caused you emotional distress.  

The separate causes of action (claims) in your lawsuit against your employer would be invasion of privacy and negligent infliction of emotional distress.  


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