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What to Do When Your Termination Conference Ends Up on TikTok

    Client Alerts
  • May 10, 2024

Some employees who are being fired or laid off from their jobs have started to record the conversations with their managers or human resources representatives and post it on social media platforms like TikTok, Instagram, or X (formerly Twitter). These videos often go viral and attract a lot of attention, sympathy, and outrage from the online community. Some of them even spark legal actions or investigations against the employers.

Employers that appear on such videos may suffer from reputational damage, negative publicity, loss of customers, or legal liability. Moreover, the videos may reveal confidential information, trade secrets, or sensitive data that the employer does not want to disclose to the public. The videos may also expose the employer to claims of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, or wrongful termination if the employee can prove that the firing was based on unlawful or unfair reasons.

Employers that want to avoid or minimize the impact of such videos should follow some best practices when terminating an employee:

  • The employer should have talking points for the termination conversation prepared that should be limited, direct, factual, and professional. We usually recommend providing a brief reason for the termination that can be supported by documentation.
  • Conduct the termination meeting in a professional, respectful, and lawful manner. The employer should explain the reasons for the firing, provide the employee with the necessary paperwork and information, and avoid any abusive, threatening, or discriminatory language or behavior. We recommend, when possible, to conduct the termination conversation with two employer representatives so as to provide context if a partial video or recording surfaces.
  • Be prepared for the possibility of recording and reacting calmly and rationally. The employer should not try to stop, confiscate, or destroy the recording device, as this may escalate the situation and create more legal problems. If the employer is aware that the employee is recording the meeting despite its objection, it may decide to end discussions and notify the employee of the action in writing.
  • Document the meeting and any details in the employee’s personnel file and maintain this personnel file for at least three years from the date of the employee’s termination.

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