A recent report out of Australia points out something that companies under American law should also be aware of, the importance of continued and thorough documentation.
Most good HR departments understand the importance of documenting all the performance issues and poor behavior that leads up to an employee being terminated. Whether they do or not is another story, but most HR departments or companies don’t document behavior that occurs after the dismissal.
Not every dismissed employee engages in bad behavior after their termination, but some do. They get verbally abusive and confrontational, they swear, or they threaten. They may send email messages to managers or co-workers or they may post disparaging remarks on blogs or websites such as Glassdoor. In the Australian example the former employee swore at and then an sat and glared at a group of his ex-coworkers he encountered at a restaurant.
While such bad behavior may be reported it is not always documented. However, it should be. In the event a court proceeding results in an order to reinstate the dismissed employee the company can possible defend itself against such an order by showing that the ex-employee’s bad behavior would make a return to work very difficult and untenable. Additionally, during the trial such behavior could call into question the credibility of the ex-employee as a witness.
Ultimately recording and documenting the bad behavior of ex-employees may prevent you from having to deal with them again. So note those stories you hear from any encounter with the ex-employee.