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Disgruntled employees: A bigger risk than you might think

On Behalf of | Dec 9, 2020 | employment law

Employers typically take great care when hiring new employees. They want to ensure they have the proper skills and ambition to help the company succeed.

Regardless of how careful employers are, the risk of legal issues remains. It is impossible to avoid all employment issues, and dealing with disgruntled employees can be one of the most challenging. Employers must handle matters carefully when it comes to disgruntled employees, to mitigate the risks that they pose to the company.


As most employers know, disgruntled employees can pose a serious risk to their business. Some of the most common concerns employers have in these cases include:

  1. Disgruntled employees could create a hostile work environment for other employees; and
  2. They could instigate other legal issues, often through complaints.

The legal issues could potentially stem from the disgruntled employee themselves, or from the hostile work environment they create.


However, recent reports have found that disgruntled employees could pose a much larger threat to the company at large. These reports find that there is an increasing risk to company security from insider threats, with insiders and employees causing 30% of all data breaches, on purpose or accidentally.

How can this happen? The primary risk seems to be that many employees can still access company systems even after they leave. For example, another recent study found that:

  • Roughly 90% of employees could still access company applications, such as the company Facebook, even after leaving employment; and
  • 68% of employees could access accounts and systems, such as their former email, and store company data.

This can be dangerous when it comes to disgruntled employees, who may have a vendetta. There have been many cases of disgruntled employees using this access and information against their former employers, with one case involving an individual who downloaded data and intellectual property from a former employer, leading to $425,000 in damages.


These reports only emphasize why employers must handle disgruntled employees carefully – whether they are handling the employee’s complaint or their termination. If employers face issues with a disgruntled employee, they should contact a knowledgeable business attorney to minimize the risks their business could face.