I was in a startup a few years ago, which I left because the environment was racist and sexist; I have several examples of this, but I'd rather not share them because I don't want to identify myself here.

I suspect that the startup employees and founder are engaging in unprofessional behavior by gossiping and bad-mouthing me. I understand it's impossible to stop wagging tongues, but how can someone overcome that kind of behavior from someone?

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    If it's something that is legitimately slandering your reputation, there's always legal remedies. A cease and desist notice could nip this in the bud. Slander is real and something someone would be civilly liable for damages for. Just throwing it out there not necessarily suggesting as your post doesn't go into much detail. – BirdLawExpert Jan 25 '18 at 2:02
  • Making myself a target here I guess: I understand your reasons for leaving. But the fact that you go up here, hidden in anonymity and express that your "suspect" gossiping and bad-mouthing is to me... doing the exact same thing. You gossiping and bad-mouthing your employer. Unless there are some specific examples that you specifically can react on (there is a broad range of "ignore it" to "get a lawyer", depending on the type of situations that present themselves), maybe lead by example and assume innocent unless proved differently. They might be guilty of other things, but not those (yet). – skymningen Jan 25 '18 at 8:28
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    @skymningen, Sorry, but that's a really poorly thought-out comparison. They refer to me by name, I am easily identifiable by employers who may look me up. How in the world is my post allowing you to do the same to this employer? And is the "yet" supposed to be some sort of threat? I don't understand your entire post, it's nonsensical. – user039202044 Jan 25 '18 at 13:25
  • The point is, as far as you explain in your post you do not know if this actually happened and you do not explain any hints that you might have other than "They have done bad thing A, I expect them to do bad thing B." And the "yet" is in no way a thread, it was meant to say that I do not categorically say they will not do bad thing B ever, but just that it looks like so far they haven't. The answer to this is much different in the case they have already done it then in case they have not and just might. Your title suggests they have, your post suggests you only suspect they might eventually. – skymningen Jan 25 '18 at 13:47

how can someone overcome that kind of behavior from someone?

The only thing you can do is ignore it. It's actually quite common for ex employers and coworkers to gossip if someone left under a bit of a cloud for whatever reason.

The people who matter know this and take it into account. So if I hear a whole lot of personal gossip about someone I might be hiring, I discount most of it unless there is proof or I know the person and value their judgement. In fact it tells me something about the people gossiping.

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I would personally not use them as a reference if I know they will provide a negative review. I have had that experience before and the best way to avoid their bad-mouthing is to ignore them and not give them anything to say further. Cut all ties as much as possible and move on with life

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