What to do if my boss and I are in HR in mediation and my boss called my previous boss to complain about me?

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What to do if my boss and I are in HR in mediation and my boss called my previous boss to complain about me?

I am having a lot of trouble with my boss and we are in HR. The mediation attempts are failing and the situation is still degrading. My boss called my ex-boss who she is friends with a couple months ago and who does not work for our company. My ex-boss has a very high opinion of me and always treated me very well and she called me the day my boss called her to complain. How big of a deal is that? If my boss tries to fire me, how can my company give me the standard pittance severance with a confidentiality agreement when my boss has already broken it?

Asked on June 11, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Georgia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Unless you already have a confidentially agreement in place, your current boss did nothing legally wrong about calling your former boss; the law does not prevent person A from complaining to person B about person C in the absence of a contractual obligation to not do so. And if there is currently no confidentiality agreement in place, then the company does not face any obligations or liability to you because your boss called another person to discuss you; that is, agreements cannot be "broken" before they exist.

Note that while your current boss may complain about you to others, including a former boss with a high opinion of you, he may not defame you. Defamation is the knowing making of false statements of fact whcih damage another's reputation. So if you current boss only expressed opinions (such as "I think John/Jane Doe is lazy," or "John/Jane Doe is bad worker") or stated true facts (such as saying you had often been late to work, when that is true), then that would not be defamation; but if he said untrue negative facts about you (such as saying that you had stolen from the company, when you did not), that may be defamation and you may have a legal cause of action.


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