Firing Staff, Disgruntled Staff, Indemnification Clauses et al
by petrosianii, Window Shopper
- Created: August 6, 2010, 12:11 pm
I recently had to fire two of my contractors this week. One had been with me the longest (about 2 yrs). It's a long story, but the short of it is: while they were both good staff, excellent at their jobs, they had a problem following directions. They were both given many warnings and second chances, but didn't really improve in this area. So, I fired them.
It's never plesant. Always upsetting to me as an owner. Not to mention all the cleanup and changeovers, the IT stuff, like changing passwords, and deleting email addresses, the severance contracts. Firing a person is never easy work.
One of the staff became disgruntled. Despite the fact that her contract had an (admittedly weak) indemnification clause in it, she still did something unethical. She contacted all our current clients, and slandered me, telling them that I had mistreated her and the other contractor I fired. AND, encouraging them to all ask for refunds (even the ones for whom the contract was fulfilled)
The indemnification clause simply states
'In the event of a termination, you agree to indemnify [the LLC] and abstain from pursuing any legal action against the LLC on the basis of termination.'
Don't think this is strong enough for a breach of contract case?
My wife suggested I call a lawyer. 'She has to be stopped!' she exclaimed. 'If clients start calling the BBB or writing negative reviews, our business could be sunk!'
One of the clients actually did request a refund, saying that he 'didn't know whom to believe, but he wanted his money back.' So the damage has already begun. I emailed this email to my lawyer as well.
Of course, I realize this. So, I called my lawyer. He asked me to fax over the IC agreement, as well as the email the former contractor sent out to all my clients. I'm still waiting for my lawyers response.
My wife says she thinks the lawyer is going to try to treat this as a breach of contract issue. She thinks it really ought to be a libel or defamation of character issue. I don't know the law on this.
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