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The Ethics Coach on Handling Social Media Attacks How do you respond when an employee lashes out on Twitter?

By Gael O'Brien

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Illustration © Mark Smith
Do you have an ethical dilemma? Write to The Ethics Coach at ethics@entrepreneur.com.

Q: I hired an employee who worked one day, called in sick the next, then asked for a leave of absence. Per our policy, the leave would have been granted had he provided medical documentation--but he never did. He stopped coming to work, and we had to fire him. Then he sent me an accusatory e-mail and said terrible, untrue things about me and my company on Twitter. How much should I tell my employees? I am uncomfortable sharing personal employee details but want to tell my side of the story.

A: To help offset internal blowback during a crisis (and because it's just good business), it's important for leaders to establish strong two-way communication with employees so that they understand company policies, get answers to their questions and see that their bosses are walking the talk. An ongoing exchange builds trust, so when a problem does crop up, you feel less pressure to have to tell your side of the story. If you don't have that type of communication in place, make it a priority to create it.