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  • "Anonymous" email regarding employee's separation from former employer Utah

    I received an email from an email from an "anonymous" source regarding an employee of ours. The email stated some details about this employee's separation from his previous employer. When the employee applied with our company, he stated that he had screwed up at his previous job (time card) and, though he had rectified it (paid the earnings back), it cost him his job. When we called for a reference, the supervisor did not go into details but did state the employee made a mistake, came clean about it and resolved it - but yes, they did terminate him for it.

    So when I received the email, it detailed the actual situation. I am pretty sure I know who sent me this email. A week ago, we interviewed a lady who currently works in the HR department for the previous employer. As we were walking out, she passed the employee's cubicle and did a double take at the nameplate (he wasn't at his desk at the time). She commented "I think I know a xxxxxxx", but did not say anymore than that. Given the nature of the details I received, I am pretty sure someone in HR would have sent it.

    To be honest, had I known these details, I probably would not have hired him at the time. However, he has proven to be a very conscientious and hard working employee and I may be naively thinking he has learned his lesson. My questions are these:
    1. Am I allowed to act on this in any way? Confront him? He didn't lie about anything, but he did gloss over some details that, to me, makes a difference.
    2. Is the employee allowed to take action against his former employer? It seems to me that he resolved the issue with the former employer and "did his time" so to speak. Should they be able to do what they did...which leads me to ask: do I tell him about the email?

    This is a new situation for me.

  • #2
    Given that the HR person you interviewed has acted extremely unprofessionally and should be fired herself for what she's done, I personally wouldn't take any action at all on the contents of the anonymous email. And I'd make sure my employer did not hire this HR person.

    Comment


    • #3
      I tend to agree with the other poster. If he has proven to be a good employee, I would do nothing with the email. Since the emailer didn't give their personal information, how do you know it is factual. Your employee's previous supervisor gave him a good reference when you contacted him. I would let it go.

      With that said, however, you can ask your employee questions regarding the incident. And if it turns out he lied, you can legally fire him.

      Comment


      • #4
        Also OP, I recommend you consider the very real possibility that whoever wrote this email message is lying, or at least seriously bending/exaggerating the truth - otherwise, why send it anonymously?

        In addition, there's a strong possibility that this very unprofessional HR candidate you just interviewed has some kind of personal beef with the employee in question and doesn't want to have to confront him/her in a new employment setting. Or the HR person behaved badly/unprofessionally during the employee's termination from the previous company and wants to discredit him before she starts working at your company.

        Whatever's going on, it's all very fishy to me.

        (And yes I know I'm sounding very down on HR people here, and while I do know that most of us are perfect there are a few really bad apples in the bunch - just ask me about my predecessor sometime, you'll wanna change careers.)

        Again, if this was happening to me, I'd ignore this anonymous email. If the employee in question has issues, I'll find them and deal with them directly.

        Comment


        • #5
          I wouldn't act on an anonymous note, and I also wouldn't hire the HR person who interviewed solely based on the comment you heard.

          If you did hire that HR person, likely that persons first task would be a start a witch hunt with the goal if firing him. Of should I say, fire him again.

          He came clean in the interview, his prior supervisor said he corrected the condition, you gave him a chance to prove himself, so let him do it and move on.

          Comment


          • #6
            Agree with the other responders. How do you know what is in the e-mail is the truth?

            Also, the employee seems to be working out well for you so I would ignore the e-mail.
            Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

            Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

            Comment


            • #7
              To be honest, had I known these details, I probably would not have hired him at the time.
              The employee was honest enough to explain about why he fired and you are going to rely on an emnail from a coward who can't tell you who they are?

              However, he has proven to be a very conscientious and hard working employee and I may be naively thinking he has learned his lesson.
              Now it is your job to teach this person how to be a good employee, they might not have been given that opportunity before.

              1. Am I allowed to act on this in any way? Confront him? He didn't lie about anything, but he did gloss over some details that, to me, makes a difference.
              You think he glossed over details. How would that make you look as a supervisor/manager to him and your employer?

              2. Is the employee allowed to take action against his former employer? It seems to me that he resolved the issue with the former employer and "did his time" so to speak. Should they be able to do what they did...which leads me to ask: do I tell him about the email?
              He has no action against his former employer as no one knows who sent the email or why.

              Agree with everyone that has told you to let this go.
              Somedays you're the windshield and somedays you're the bug.

              Comment


              • #8
                Any anonymous emails I recieve usually go in the shredder. I have had many through the years and usually it's a personal vendetta. Noi, some have gone to my boss and usually i get scolded for something i have no idea of. (yell first, question later is his philosophy.
                No credibility at all, and will lessen yours if you act on it.

                Comment


                • #9
                  The disturbing thing to me is that you would even consider taking action against the employee based on an anonymous email. I'd not likely take action on it even if the email was signed, or it arrived as a certified letter that had been notarized. You still have no way of knowing if it is true. There are plenty of evil people out there who will take a shot at someone that they don't like for any number of reasons. As far as "glossing over the details" who, in applying for a job does more than that in talking about previous employment?
                  Please post questions on the forum rather than sending me a private message or email. That way others who have similar issues have access to the discussion.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    As the new employee is working out very well thus far, I'd also ignore the anonymous email.

                    I think the most pertinent part - and the part the parties involved agree on - is that he 'fessed up to his mistake/error in judgment and repaid the money. He came clean voluntarily about whatever it was and I'd feel comfortable at this point that he learned his lesson. He didn't lie about the reason for his termination either, even if he did gloss over some of the fine points. Anyone I've ever interviewed who was involuntarily terminated has done so.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      While I can appreciate the other persons 'weak' attempt to get on your good side, she has acted with poor judgement.

                      Consider speaking about the details with the employee, and keeping an eye on him. I would let him prove his worth on his own merits. Don't be terribly concerned with what the anonymous emailing bandit has chosen to share with you.
                      Not everything in America is actionable in a court of law. Please remember that attorneys are in business for profit, and they get paid regardless of whether or not you win or lose.

                      I offer my knowledge and experience at no charge, I admit that I am NOT infallible, I am wrong sometimes, hopefully another responder will correct me if that is the case with the answer above, regardless, it is your responsibility to verify any and all information provided.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I consider it very wrong to ask the employee for any information at all based on this anonymous email, unless your intent is to let everyone know that anonymous attacks on your employees will be dealt with as if they are absolute fact. Get ready for more anonymous attacks as other employees and former co-workers of employees realize that they can cause problems for your employees just by sending you anonymous emails -- and, getting called in for questioning to explain an unsubstantiated allegation is a major problem for an employee. And, get ready to defend yourself when attacks on you are then sent to your management. -- In short, personnel decisions should not be based on this type of thing.
                        Please post questions on the forum rather than sending me a private message or email. That way others who have similar issues have access to the discussion.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Scott67 View Post
                          I consider it very wrong to ask the employee for any information at all based on this anonymous email, unless your intent is to let everyone know that anonymous attacks on your employees will be dealt with as if they are absolute fact. Get ready for more anonymous attacks as other employees and former co-workers of employees realize that they can cause problems for your employees just by sending you anonymous emails -- and, getting called in for questioning to explain an unsubstantiated allegation is a major problem for an employee. And, get ready to defend yourself when attacks on you are then sent to your management. -- In short, personnel decisions should not be based on this type of thing.
                          Since the employee disclosed a portion of the issue, the employer is simply clarifying the situation.
                          Not everything in America is actionable in a court of law. Please remember that attorneys are in business for profit, and they get paid regardless of whether or not you win or lose.

                          I offer my knowledge and experience at no charge, I admit that I am NOT infallible, I am wrong sometimes, hopefully another responder will correct me if that is the case with the answer above, regardless, it is your responsibility to verify any and all information provided.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by CatBert View Post
                            Since the employee disclosed a portion of the issue, the employer is simply clarifying the situation.
                            I truly hope that you are among a very small minority who would subject an employee to interrogation based on an anonymous email, whether or not it dealt with an issue that the employee had previously disclosed in full or in part.
                            Please post questions on the forum rather than sending me a private message or email. That way others who have similar issues have access to the discussion.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Scott67 View Post
                              I truly hope that you are among a very small minority who would subject an employee to interrogation based on an anonymous email, whether or not it dealt with an issue that the employee had previously disclosed in full or in part.
                              Scott,

                              I'm curious, what's it like being the only employer in the world who can walk on water?
                              Not everything in America is actionable in a court of law. Please remember that attorneys are in business for profit, and they get paid regardless of whether or not you win or lose.

                              I offer my knowledge and experience at no charge, I admit that I am NOT infallible, I am wrong sometimes, hopefully another responder will correct me if that is the case with the answer above, regardless, it is your responsibility to verify any and all information provided.

                              Comment

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