"I shouldn't be telling you this, but ...": How do you deal with the office gossip?

"I shouldn't be telling you this, but ...": How do you deal with the office gossip?

"I shouldn

Terminating a worker for breaching the organization’s confidentiality standards is justified, the BC Supreme Court said, as it sided with WorkSafeBC which fired a worker who always began her sentences with "I shouldn't be telling you this, but ..."

Taranjeet Manak sued her employer for wrongful dismissal when she was fired in 2011, CBC News reported.

Despite her violation, Manak, 61, was still given the option of retiring with a pension and four months’ salary so long as she signed a release document saying she would not sue.

But she sought a declaration of wrongful dismissal. She also asked to have the release declared unenforceable.

"She knew she should not be sharing such confidential information with her subordinates,” said Justice Ward Branch.

Manak, who had been with the agency for 36 years, was a client services manager in the hearing loss section but also oversaw claims made by WorkSafeBC staff.

A witness said Manak "shared information about staff claims casually" and said "it was a running joke in the department that employees should not get injured at work because everyone would know about their injury".

Another witness said Manak told her about a colleague who was about to be fired.

The two witnesses also said Manak talked about a staff member who threatened to go to the media because of a denied claim.

Manak said a violation of the code should not automatically lead to termination. The breaches were relatively minor, she said, and no actual harm came from the disclosures.

Branch rejected those arguments.

"No individual incident may have been sufficient to justify dismissal. But the cumulative effect of all of the incidents found to have occurred suggests a manager out of her depth, reacting to her stress by making an array of improper disclosures, in a misguided effort to obtain support from, or simply to be liked by, her subordinates," the ruling said.

WorkSafeBC “did consider the suitability of alternative measures, but reasonably concluded that the trust relationship was simply too broken."

Want the latest HR news direct to your inbox? Sign up for HRD Canada's daily newsletter.


Related stories:

Wrongful dismissal damages explained
Schadenfreude: the secret that’s sabotaging your workforce