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How to deal with Toxic Employee seeking new job

By scat10 ·
My organization was bought out by another company two years ago. One long time employee, who was recently transitioned to a position he did not want, has been loudly proclaiming his extreme discontent and criticism of the company to everyone who will listen. He brazenly tells us all about every interview he goes on - even informing his own manager of the exact reason he will be out. He is spreading malcontent like a toxic virus... What can be done? Can this be construed as creating a hostile work environment?

For additional context, our organization has had a few rounds of layoffs recently and this person does have skills we need. There will be an impact on the morale of the remaining employees if we fire him... Thanks!

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A suggestion

by mattkent In reply to How to deal with Toxic Em ...

First, as you already stated he is looking for a new job, so it is time to write him off. If he is a critical member of your staff, you need to find a replacement for him.
I would sit down with him and advise him that you understand he is unhappy with his position and his reasons for wanting to leave. Advise him that if he is leaving you need to train a replacement and would like his assistance in doing this. Then involve him in the process of finding his replacement. This works two ways for you. One is shows him that he isn't irreplaceable, which is what he believes otherwise he wouldn't be so brazen. Second it shows you respect him, which it sounds like he thinks you don't. Chances are he will quite down during this process and may even ask to keep his position, at which time its up to you to decide whether you really want to keep such a volatile asset.

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Excellent Suggestions

by John Dickey In reply to A suggestion

I recently was faced with an almost identical situation and used your suggestions for the process. Not only did the person quit complaining, he actively helped in recruting and training his replacement and even stayed on an extra week to insure that his replacement understood all he had to for the job.

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I've been there.

by DONC314 In reply to A suggestion

Sounds like this guy is either a prima donna, has a screw loose or both.

I had an employee that displayed the same traits. I had always worked to have an environment where the members of our department supported each other through the occasional rough spots we all encounter. I attempted to counsel him and help him deal with his problems. This person took advantage of what he apparently saw as a weakness,worked as little as possible and constantly spread poison and ill feelings eight hours a day. We were short staffed and overloaded with projects. I was on the road several days a week and his immediate supervisor was ill and unable to deal with him. Before I knew it he had managed to create a huge amount of chaos with several departments.

I later found out that this person apparently made a life style out of this sort of activity. He had bounced from job to job causing problems everywhere he worked.

In my case he managed to pull me down with him putting an end to my 20 year with the company.

My advice: document everything. Fire him at the earliest possible moment. This person is determined to crash and burn. Don't let him take you down with him.

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Workplace Mediation

by grossalert In reply to How to deal with Toxic Em ...

Workplace mediation is the sensible step rather than dismissal or other disciplinary action. The latter costs the employer a lot whatever the outcome. See my paper presented earlier this month to the 6th Forum on Online Dispute Resolution in Hong Kong available by link at as well also as my presentation to the UK Department of Trade and Industry on our dedicated workplace mediation site at

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