I worked at a company for 2 months but got laid off in my trial period because they needed someone with more experience. However, a co-worker apparently is under the assumption that I got laid off because I had too many sick days (which I admittedly did, but that is not what I was told when they gave me the news).
This co-worker is part of my family and has been telling the rest of the family about my termination. They even told my parents before I did.

Of course, I want this person to know that they did something wrong in this situation, but I am unsure whether or not I should contact my former boss (their current boss) about the situation, or if I should contact the person privately?
I hope someone can give me some advice on how to proceed from here.

(added from comments)

I assume that the reason for why someone is let go from a company is a confidential matter, and when an employee openly speaks about the reason of termination outside of the workplace to others and to the family of the person who was terminated, is a confidential issue.

It bothers me. That information was for me to tell, not my co-worker. And the fact that they are saying it to everybody, makes it feel like their intention is not good.

It bothers me that it is told to my family. I do not know if they have told other employees at the company.

  • 2
    What would you want to tell your former boss? Commented Oct 1, 2017 at 17:12
  • Does it bother you that they spread this news to your old colleagues, to your family, or both? The reaction to both is probably different.
    – Erik
    Commented Oct 1, 2017 at 17:18
  • I assume that, the reason for why someone is let go from a company is a confidential matter, and when an employee openly speaks about the reason of termination outside of the workplace to others and to the family of the person who was terminated, is a confidential issue.
    – user6648
    Commented Oct 1, 2017 at 17:26
  • Q is: what are you willing to tell/explain to this family member about his behavior? Is that the point?
    – OldPadawan
    Commented Oct 1, 2017 at 17:28
  • 1
    One of your answers points out a framing concern - is there a reason you're framing this as a workplace issue rather than a family issue? If the ex-coworker weren't also a member of your family, their gossiping wouldn't affect you. It's the family connection that seems to be the heart of this, why focus on the coworker side?
    – Catija
    Commented Oct 2, 2017 at 23:55

4 Answers 4


As a psychiatrist, I am urged to say my usual two favorite words: confront and resolve.

It's obvious that there's some history between the two of you, you possibly have done something to this relative and he just found the opportunity to get back at you or he's simply a gossip and someone that likes to meddle.

In this case I would advice you to confront this person and discuss why he felt the need to share the news of your termination and possibly with an incorrect reason. In their defense, office gossip probably got the best of them or possibly the reason why you were indeed terminated was that (too many sick days) - so that's also a good chance for a little retrospective and self-reflection.

Also, if you really want to work on resolving issues with this person, I would sit down with them and hash out their true feelings. There seems to an issue there that needs to be addressed.

Good luck!


Some thoughts...

There doesn't seem to be much point in talking to former boss. He or she is not really involved in this situation, which is that your relative has a serious case of the gossips.


You should speak to your relative and let him know that he's got the story wrong, and that you'll thank him kindly to stop gossiping about it. Don't be too shy to let him understand you are angry at him. You can remind him of what the real reason is, because he's not likely to stop telling tales. Inveterate jawboners rarely stop. But at least you'll have communicated your displeasure, and influenced the story he'll be telling.

I wouldn't make a crusade out of tracking down all your relatives and giving them your story. Instead, tell your parents the real scoop. It's likely they will help to suppress any more gossip. Should anyone else ask you about the whole story, give them the real facts with a reminder: "I was there, so I know best what happened."


Should I inform my former workplace about this person?

NO, you shouldn't. What's done is done. And there's nothing you can do about that, nor can you change the way it was done. It can only worsen. It could (would?) be seen as a mere attempt of retaliation (for what reason? more gossiping...).

More from the WorkPlace.SE : How to avoid the rumor mill? and many related.

In this case, it's not the company, but the co-worker. I would definately not go back to the manager and talk about this, as it's none of their business anymore. You're out. Period. They won't waste time and energy dealing with this, they'll let it fade away, as many companies do...

Or should I deal with it privately?

I would. I would just tell this family member that there's no reason for anyone to talk about issues when they don't know about all the ins and outs.

Why would you do that and why is it the best way to handle it?

Because when they go low, you go high.

  1. Tell him it's none of his business. Be firm, but polite. Let him understand he's gone way too far into something personal, that you should have handled, not him.
  2. Don't argue and tell him what really went on, why you were laid off. If he asks, don't answer more than (roughly): it's MY life, not yours, I would appreciate if you let me say what I want, AND when. I decide what to tell to people, and what I want to explain. It's my decision. Not Yours. Please stop spreading rumors.
  3. Tell your family members, nicely, with your own words, that it happened, well... It's sad, but you're OK now, and that they shouldn't listen to rumors.

Will it work? It depends on their personality. It would be too overconfident to say it'll work for sure, but at least, they will have heard YOUR point of view. From there, you may need to adapt your speech to whatever they ask or say...

It's only experienced-based, but my Dad and, later, life, taught me that, in case of rumors, the less you say, the best it goes. Let gossipers wade around in the mud, don't jump with them.


You framed the question wrong. It isn't a "former co-worker" that is causing havoc but rather a family member.

So first and foremost leave your former company out of this.

Second you should have a one on one conversation with the family member about your feelings, not about "the facts." Believe me (1) only the managers know why they "really" let you go. The story that they told you is something that they could sell and defend, not necessarily the truth. (2) The gossiping family member has already made his/her mind up about the facts and you will never convince them otherwise.

Lastly I'd suggest that you just tell your story to your parents in private, and to any other family members to whom you are really close. Don't try to tell your story to everyone in the family, and don't point fingers at the family member who is gossiping. The point is that you don't want to get into a family drama about whether you or the family member who is gossiping is "right" about the reason for your termination. So be Joe Friday. Just tell the facts about what you were told when terminated and drop the matter.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.