Where Seldom Is Heard a Disparaging Word And the Skies Are Not Cloudy All Day

I stumbled across an article entitled “21 Great Headlines from Trashy Tabloids”  and came across this headline:

Secretary lifts car off boss – and he fires her!

I read that headline to my sister and she started giving me all these “well maybe” scenarios to fill in the story that goes beyond the headline.

It made me think of a recent notification I received from the MLMWatchDog.  The notification was of the termination of an Icon in the Network Marketing Industry.  Rod Cook, editor, of MLMWatchdog shared his shock in these words:

Of all the people in the MLM world to get terminated, the very last I would expect to be a statesman and gentleman like  [name removed]!  His training and education has truly elevated the whole industry over many long years. He has millions of admirers and the fantastic MLM books he has written and sold would reach 3/4 of the way to the moon!

As I perused the pending lawsuit, something that many, many distributors I’ve spoken with seem to make so light of the term DISPARAGEMENT was one of the causes cited by the company for termination of this Icon of the Network Marketing Industry.

What is Disparagement?

According to the World English Dictionary, disparagement comes from the word Disparage which is a verb and is defined as:

vb1. to speak contemptuously of; belittle2. to damage the reputation of

Why do distributors gloss over the Disparagement clauses in their contracts?

#1 Maybe because the distributor loves the company, products, etc….  soooooo much, he/she just can’t think of ever saying a bad word

#2  Maybe because the clause looks so benign.  Take this clause, for instance, straight from a company’s P&P’s:

5.3 – Non-disparagement [Company XYZ] wants to provide its independent Distributors with the best products, Compensation plan and service in the industry. Accordingly, we value your constructive criticisms and comments. All such comments should be submitted in writing to the Customer Services Department. Independent Distributors should not disparage, demean, or make negative remarks about [Company XYZ’s], other [Company XYZ’s] Independent Distributors, [Company XYZ’s] products, the Compensation Plan, or [Company XYZ’s] directors, officers, or employees.

#3 Maybe the distributor is a bit complacent in thinking “that would NEVER happen to me”.

#4 Disparaging behavior is  in the EYE of the Beholder.

Let’s say we are at dinner with several of our colleagues.  During the course of conversation I make a comment about a new product Company ABC is coming out with that looks like it might have a few more ingredients than a similar product we have at Company XYZ.  The conversation goes where ever it goes, but then weeks later, someone comes to you and says “hey, have you ever heard Jennifer say ANYTHING bad about our company, products, people… etc.?”

You, my friend, reply, “well, yeah, 3 weeks ago at dinner she said our pink widget was bad and that Company ABC’s Hot Pink widget was better.  George and Sally were there also and they heard it too.”

First off, that’s not what the original conversation was.  That’s probably just how you interpreted it…….  but now the Company has grounds to terminate me by using the Disparagement clause… if that’s what they were looking to do…. terminate me.

You may think “Hey, that’s not fair!”  But that would be because in YOUR eyes, that’s not disparaging.  In the Company’s eyes, wanting to terminate me, that’s enough…. whether it is true or not, taken out of context or not…. it’s ENOUGH.

I know of a gentleman who called his customer service department to get a problem corrected.  Whether he was having a bad hair day or the customer service rep was having one doesn’t really matter.  At the end of the conversation, the customer service rep reported to the company that he had been rude.  He was terminated for DISPARAGEMENT!

Whether you think it’s a big deal or not,  it’s in the EYE of the Beholder … and those type clauses in a contract are just as useful as the “terminate with or without cause” or “at the sole discretion of the company” clauses.  They are put in there by Lawyers to give the company an “OUT” should the company decide they don’t want to pay you anymore.

No BIG DEAL to you that your company has that clause in their Policies and Procedures?  That’s ok, it’s YOUR decision.  However, it’s a deal breaker for me because I’ve seen it used more than once against really good distributors who truly loved what they were doing and didn’t deserve to be terminated.

Secretary lifts car off boss – and he fires her!

To YOUR Success
~Jennifer Fisher

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2 Responses to “Where Seldom Is Heard a Disparaging Word And the Skies Are Not Cloudy All Day”

  1. Frieke Karlovits says:

    So true – only to day I received an email someone I have worked with a year and a half back….and he told me “we were terminated just as you thought it would happen”….he didn’t believe it at the time!

    ‘Frieke Karlovits

  2. JenniferF says:

    Sad, but true, Frieke. It still amazes me that we Independent Business owners can think “Oh, that won’t happen. This is a solid company….. blah blah blah …. ” Appearing solid today and gone tomorrow.

    We have to read those sometimes LONG, BORING contracts… or have someone help us, but no… in most cases, we gloss over them with a ho-hum attitude.


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