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Dear Madeleine, 

I work in HR in a small company and recently had to let someone go. The process is never pleasant—and to make matters a bit more complicated, the terminated employee was a bit of a gossip. 

Now that she is gone, many employees are upset and have been speculating out loud about the reason she was terminated. Those who were involved in the decision are professional enough to not share the details that would make the reason clear—and, of course, as an HR professional I am also unable to do that. 

The objective side of me sees that I cannot be responsible for the perceptions of so many people and that I need to accept the damage that has been done, keep a strong visage, and stand by the company’s decision. However, I am human and I cannot help but feel that the loaded comments…

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