We’ve all seen the videos. A man or woman, later associated with working for your company, makes an absolute fool of themselves in a video captured by an observer’s cellphone. Maybe they were caught in a racist tirade or had an entitled “Karen” episode where they displayed exceedingly bad behavior. Regardless, their viral infamy now affects your company’s brand.
The video quickly goes viral for all the wrong reasons. People begin tweeting and retweeting “@” your company, tightening the association between you and the viral associate or employee.
What can you do to minimize the damage?
Act swiftly. Do not delay issuing a statement wherein you put as much distance between your brand and your former employee as possible.
That’s right — former employee. There is no mulligan allowed here. An egregious display of astonishingly poor judgment that tarnishes the sheen of your carefully polished brand cannot be tolerated, and the employee has to go. Such is the case whether the person was a sandwich-maker on the line at your restaurant or a top-tier executive.
Make sure that you also document this incident extensively in the employee’s personnel file. The higher up the corporate ladder they are, the likelier it is that they might try to contest the termination or at least to seek some form of severance.
You can counter that with your own legal arsenal. Your employment litigation attorney can quickly shut down any attempts to seek a golden-parachute landing by threatening litigation against the employee for the damage done to your brand by the association with them and the poor decisions they made. Your attorney can help you understand all of your legal options.