9 Steps to Avoid Online Defamation by Employees and Former Business Partners
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How to Prevent Becoming a Victim of Defamation by Former Employees and Partners?
How to describe that first shocking moment when you discover that the reputation of your business is being tarnished all over the internet? There’s really nothing else like it, and it is followed by sleepless nights and constant worry. For some business people whose reputation is attacked online, things will never be the same again.
Just imagine: As you lie awake wishing the problem would go away, instead, it is spreading throughout the internet. Within weeks, sometimes even days, there is more defamatory material every time you look.
The complaints are anonymous, and they are in too many places for you to respond to, if the sites even allow for a response at all. The lightning speed of information flowing through the internet—the speed that seems so miraculous when you are seeking information—is now working against you.
Soon, matters are completely out of your control.
Who creates these treacherous, career-wrecking posts? It turns out that former employees and former business partners are responsible for many of them. Experience tells us that this group of people is often motivated by a strong sense of injustice and powerful emotions of anger, pain, and fear.
They are hurt emotionally and financially when they lose their position—without good cause, as they see it. In their view, their treatment by their former employer or business partner constitutes a breach of trust.
Now that you’ve breached it, so will they. With a vengeance—literally. And they can do it in a way few others can.
During their employment, former employees and business partners are likely to have access to sensitive information about the company, and in some cases, evidence of minor wrongdoings by their employer or business partner.
They might be in possession of vast amounts of information about you, your family, your personal life, your business practices and some of your past mistakes and errors. They may now use this information against you.
9 Steps To Avoid Defamation By Employees And Former Business Partners
While you can’t entirely eliminate the possibility of breach of trust by former employees or business partners, you can reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim to online defamation. Here are some important steps you should take as a precaution: Always remember that employees and business partners come and go. Someday they will no longer be with your company, but their memories of you will not end with their employment.
Place a high value on personal integrity and trustworthiness when assessing a new business partner or employee. Skills may be acquired, but integrity cannot. It is gold, and value it as such.
Always look for signals of disgruntlement among your employees, listen to their concerns and act to fix matters quickly.
Restrict access to sensitive personal data and private information. Keep your customers’ mailing lists private as well. Maintain them in safe, preferably password-protected databases, and never make these databases freely available to your employees, especially in a downloadable format.
Make sure that your organisation complies with all the requirements of the Data Protection Act of 1998. If you neglect your legal obligations to protect your mailing lists from being stolen, you could find yourself liable for prosecution.
Ensure that your employees are constantly aware of your uncompromising approach towards breach of data protection laws.
Make data protection compliance part of all your employees' employment contracts.
In the event that you discover evidence of an employee misusing or unlawfully downloading your company’s customer database, deal with the issue immediately and without compromise. It is important that a stern approach towards any form of breach of trust is appropriately communicated to your entire workforce.
Always play it straight. Be fair in your dealings with employees and partners and listen to their concerns. It is the right thing to do. And it can also prevent internet-reputation nightmares down the road.