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My boss has a history of bullying multiple people in the past to work crazy hours to meet absolutely unrealistic deadlines which have led to numerous cases of serious depression and even one (thankfully unsuccessful) attempt of suicide among his employees. I have heard a story of one person getting so depressed, it led to a divorce and him emigrating to another country.

He is known in the industry for developing a start-up company with his partners and selling it for a couple dozen million euros.

In public he is a very soft spoken and friendly person. I would say he seems like the friendliest person I have ever met, which causes cognitive dissonance in my brain. This is how a lot of other business owners, managers and generally people in the industry know him.

In Sweden, where I live, it is a part of the culture to avoid confrontations at all cost so to what I have seen so far is that most people who had any guts to deal with the situation quietly quit.

I have done something stupid. I confronted him publicly and demanded a change. Lots of people supported me privately, but not a single one joined me in the public.

His reaction was cutting my benefits, creating obstructions to my work, not inviting me to meetings, ignoring me, taking away my projects and assigning made up meaningless tasks to me.

I have informed HR and after some behind closed doors talks I was offered either relocation to Germany (as I am German myself) or 6 months pay and resignation. Since I have a mortgage, wife and two preschool kids, I have chosen the latter.

Now I am searching for a new job and facing a true job seeker's nightmare:

  • interviews being cancelled at the last moment
  • people that tried to recruit me in the past do not even reply to my emails
  • yesterday's interviewers hanging up the phone
  • etc.

Last Friday a friend of mine from the company I have had an absolutely fantastic interview last week, after which I received super short rejection email, told me everyone approved me, but last week they received an email from my current boss telling them not to hire me, because "I am conflicting" and "will certainly cause problems".

Today, I had a quick chat with a union representative and a lawyer. Both told me that technically he is just exercising his freedom of speech and it'll be hard to run a legal action against him, but I should collect all the evidence and proofs of all the interactions between him and me, so I went back to office after work hours and found out that my inbox is missing lots of emails sent to him and HR.

This guy destroyed my reputation and all the evidence of this.

Now I am having a panic attack and trying to calm myself with whiskey while my wife and kids are watching a movie.

How can I prevent my former boss from sabotaging future job opportunities?

TL;DR I have a bullying manager who is very well-connected in the industry and is destroying my reputation.

  • 2
    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – user44108 Apr 3 at 12:33
  • @Tobias How transferable are your skills? Do you have any scope to try another industry (academia / public sector) for the time being. I think your post would benefit from a more detail on how those things work in Sweden. How does he know about your interviews. It feels to me like a very close-knit community; how your boss would know about your interviews? – Konrad Apr 3 at 15:22
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    Generally the TL;DR goes at the start, in case people don't want to read it all... – Cullub Apr 3 at 15:36
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    Wait, how did he learn that you were interviewed by this company? Did they ask a reference? I think they have to ask for your permission to contact former employers and especially the current one. – Stelios Adamantidis Apr 3 at 15:46
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    Find out who your former boss's enemies are. He must have some. Then apply to their companies. – Rodrigo de Azevedo Apr 5 at 8:06

13 Answers 13

139

I would suggest being forward on your first interview / CV stage and state that XXX has a personal grudge against you and you don`t want to get in to the details due to being non-confrontational person etc.

State that your previous in-company move was due to him hounding you.

This way you would move whatever he says about your from professional to personal grudge level.

I am not very surprised about paper trail being missing, when dealing with such a snake, any evidence anyone may have against him, he would do all in his power to destroy And when it is his word against yours it comes down to your metaphorical weight in the category you clash.

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    Thank you for the comment. I might try this. The issue is it will be hard from now on to even get an interview. – Tobias Apr 2 at 19:02
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    @Tobias it would take some time to circulate your relation, but you should start spreading it around in order to move any comments he will have about you to personal level from professional, it would help to have someone on his / higher level to speak well on your behalf. Otherwise you would need to move to your own company or switch industry to something completely non-related – Strader Apr 2 at 19:03
  • Showing yourself bleeding might just attract sharks. – rackandboneman Apr 4 at 8:32
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    @rackandboneman the only way to remedy the situation is to bring out in the open. OP is already bleeding. Their weight categories are extremely different and if you leave it all in "shadows" he have no chance of ever getting it resolved. – Strader Apr 4 at 14:15
62

A few thoughts:

Last Friday a friend of mind from the company I have had an absolutely fantastic interview last week, after which I received super short rejection email, told me everyone approved me, but last week they received an email from my current boss telling them not to hire me, because "I am conflicting" and "will certainly cause problems".

You should definitely attempt to get this company to hear your side of the story. Assuming you have worked at other companies, your side of the story will be much more compelling with recommendations from other companies you have worked for. Additionally, you should find other people that have quit this company and would be willing to privately vouch for you. This will also bolster your side of things and could be useful for any legal action you might take.

Today, I had a quick chat with a union representative and a lawyer. Both told me that technically he is just exercising his freedom of speech and it'll be hard to run a legal action against him, but I should collect all the evidence and proofs of all the interactions between him and me, so I went back to office after work hours and found out that my inbox is missing lots of emails sent to him and HR.

You should write down everything that happened in detail. Things like:

  • The date you filed a complaint with HR
  • The details of your confrontation, including the motivation for it.

I'm shocked to hear that they say he's exercising his freedom of speech. It seems to go well beyond that, even though the part about winning a settlement being difficult is probably true. However, you can probably get him to stop by getting an attorney to send him a letter threatening legal action if he doesn't stop defaming you (this is usually the first step to a legal battle anyway).

My last suggestion is to reach out to people who you already know in the industry for help. People you know personally shouldn't be scared off by this guy emailing them.

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    posted this story on one Swedish forum and was told a story: (shortened, free translation): ex-colleague of mine sued my previous employer for bullying her after discovering her ethnicity and now her name is in the public registry of court cases, so every time someone googles her name, they find out about the incident and know she has sued her previous employer. She changed name and is currently in the uni obtaining degree in a different field. I'm not 11 and understand that life is not fair, but what the actual f@#$? – Tobias Apr 2 at 20:12
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    That's pretty insane; has she faced repercussions? – dbeer Apr 2 at 20:56
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    The sad problem is... no, the interviewing company's probably not going to care about 'your' side. Reason? The company isn't out to uncover the truth, they're out to hire someone good for their team. Why bother taking the risk on the OP and misjudging who's to blame? Just find a similar applicant that doesn't have the possibility of such a huge issue hanging over them. Don't get me wrong - I'm not saying this is right, and I definitely feel for the OP... but I don't think it's as simple as "giving your side" to a potential employer. – Kevin Apr 2 at 21:11
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    @Kevin it is definitely worth OP's time. Companies are looking to hire someone who fits their company; if the whole team liked him - as stated - then there's a chance. Additionally, companies often get impatient in hiring and can't always find another good candidate. If I were in the situation I'd give it a go, and I'd at least hear him out if I were on the hiring committee (I am regularly involved in hiring people). – dbeer Apr 2 at 21:19
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    Definitely agree with trying to get the company that really liked you (the one with your friend) to tell your side of the story. However, I am also 99% sure that if you've gone through this experience, you're not going to be the only one. If you can find some people who've quit before to help you out as proof, that would be good too. – Bleh Apr 3 at 14:06
53

I think the real problem here is that your boss knows you are looking for employment elsewhere, and also seems to know with whom and when you are interviewing for jobs. How is he getting this information? If you can block his access to this information, he can't run interference on your job hunting.

If the industry is so small that this is not feasible, you may need to consider leaving the industry for another line of work. Some wells cannot be unpoisoned, sadly.

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    Or your boss is well connected and those people are reaching out to him to see if he knows anything about you. Any way to leave that company off your resume/CV? – J. Chris Compton Apr 2 at 20:32
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    There are lots of companies that reach out to your previous employers; this isn't likely something that can stay completely a secret. – dbeer Apr 2 at 21:06
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    @dbeer You can take it off your CV and then when asked about the gap tell them about the horror story – dan-klasson Apr 3 at 1:23
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    @dbeer It is illegal, certainly in the UK, but I imagine much of Europe, for a company to say something negative about a previous employee in a reference. It also makes the company liable if they say something positive which turns out to not be the case at the new place. As such, most company references will just confirm the dates you worked with them. If the company reached out to your previous employers and they were told something negative, then I would have a serious chat with an employment lawyer – UKMonkey Apr 3 at 9:17
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    Surely the prospective company will have contacted the OP's previous employer? This happens on a regular basis. – Tim Apr 3 at 15:13
35

Don’t know the Swedish law. In other countries you could sue the boss for defamation, and the new company would be asked by the court what exactly they were told (and not giving everything that was said would be a criminal offence).

Contact a lawyer.

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    Relating to what @MilkeyWay90 said, you should edit the last line to "contact a new lawyer" and call it good. – user87779 Apr 3 at 1:42
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    @MilkyWay90 slander: the action or crime of making a false spoken statement damaging to a person's reputation. - don't think any lawyer anywhere would not suggest to find a way to claim slander in this situation...IANAL though... – fireshark519 Apr 3 at 8:44
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    OP: I contacted a lawyer and he said nothing can be done. Workplace.SE: Contact a lawyer. – user1717828 Apr 3 at 16:39
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    Defamation is a crime in Sweden, it is not covered by freedom of expression. As per an earlier comment, he should get a second opinion. There is absolutely no way that it's legal for an employer to lie about and defame you with the intent to deprive you of your livelihood. – Matthew Read Apr 3 at 18:42
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    Not sure defamation can be proven. Even the OP's story makes him come across as confrontational. The boss is just stating the behavior he saw. With regards to lawyer said nothing can be done: the lawyer seems to be incompetent or perhaps they simply had not interest in the case. One thing that can be done, which is done all the time, is that the lawyer could send a very formal letter to the boss and his company demanding that he stop. I think most people change their attitude once a situation turns into a potential legal issue even when they think they are right. That lawyer should know this. – Dunk Apr 3 at 22:13
25

Now I am having a panic attack and trying to calm myself with whiskey while my wife and kids are watching a movie.

I'm going to ignore the work side of things and focus on the personal - because other answers cover the work perfectly. Your question gives the strong impression that you're trying to handle the whole situation yourself, on your own.

Don't.

I would strongly suggest you talk to your wife about things, but if you don't feel comfortable about that, any close friend or even councillor. You need to be able to vent the anger you feel towards your old boss; your fear about your future and your frustration with life in a way that isn't going to cause you long lasting damage to your health.

  • 3
    And whiskey! people are adult etc. but alcohol is not your friend in those cases. – coredump Apr 4 at 7:57
24

I felt like giving the risky advice here.

First, I find it weird that the lawyer said this was his right of speech. I'm not aware of Sweden legislation, but it's hard to believe he can prevent you from getting a job that effectively without lying and actively seeking your potential employers, and this should be diffamation anywhere in the world. Was this a paid lawyer or some public defender? Consider getting yourself a good well paid lawyer. Even some word games like saying you "will certainly cause problems" is a speculative prediction rather than a fact based comment such as (he caused problems when he was here).

After you do it, or decide it's no use...

Pick a recorder and go talk to your former boss.

First, try to make clear what your reasons were when you confronted him. He might not have seen things from your point of view, so maybe the narrative in his mind is pretty different from that in your mind.

Ask him how he feels about it, if he found it to be that offensive, give him an opportunity to discuss it.

If he is a reasonable person, you might be at better terms at this point of the conversation, if not, continue to the next step anyway.

Ask him about the campaign he's been pushing to make you lose job opportunities. What reason does he possibly have to do so? He can't be that well connected that he just happens to talk with everyone all the time to have the opportunity to share this thoughts about you.

He might answer that he's only been giving his honest opinion upon being asked. If your story is true, he could be lying, and you've got yourself a recorder. I don't know how things go in Sweden, but usual practice is the HR have their methods to find out if you are a problematic person, and call previous employers mostly to confirm past salary and if the passage through said company actually did happen (i.e. they check if you are not lying on your CV). They should normally contact financial people, not the CEO or your direct boss unless you willingly gave them his contact.

Chances are, if your former boss is indeed such a bully, but you've kept your calm, you might have plenty evidence at your hands. I'd expect such person to threaten you after that much questioning. If he is a pretty good liar and kept his calm, you might go on and ask what exactly he's telling your potential employers. My bet is that he heavily exaggerates.

Also question him mentioning things like "what did you mean when wrote me an email saying such and such?". He'll likely lie and contradict you, but the goal is to produce evidence of the email being deleted from your account. him deleting your emails may be considered "evidence destruction", it is a crime in some countries.

Give him a month or so, and he should cease his activities. Wait a few months so he might forget about you. This conversation should have brought him satisfaction and remorse enough if he's not a psychopath. Do consider moving to a bigger city if possible. Consider interrupting your job hunt in the meantime.

But, if things persist, check again with some lawyer if legal action would be that much out of reach.

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    Audio recording in Sweden is legal as long as at least one party to the conversation is aware (in this case, yourself). – Emil Vikström Apr 3 at 4:27
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    @Tobias No it is not. In Sweden it is perfectly legal to record your own conversations. I call your question BS. That is not how it works in Sweden. Your boss' acquaintances wouldn't just take his word for a story like this. – d-b Apr 3 at 8:53
12

Today, I had a quick chat with a union representative and a lawyer. Both told me that technically he is just exercising his freedom of speech and it'll be hard to run a legal action against him

That does not sound right, based on what you say.

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer. I am absolutely not your lawyer.

Chapter 5 of Swedish criminal law (brottsbalken), would seem to me to apply. Its 1-2 §§ discusses förtal (slander and/or defamation). Basically, my reading of the law is that even if the information is true, unless disclosing it is required or can be shown to be justified under the circumstances, it's still criminal to spread information that is meant to cause harm to another living person. What you describe would appear to meet that criteria.

The Swedish free speech law (yttrandefrihetsgrundlagen) technically only covers transmitted messages, so I'm not sure it applies here. Even YGL doesn't provide absolute protection either; there are several categories of speech which are illegal in spite of it.

Unless there is a lot more going on here than you describe in your post but did tell your lawyer and which is relevant, my advice would be to get a different lawyer, and specifically look for one who specializes in slander/defamation cases.

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    The law doen't say it but in practice, for something to be defamation, it has to be spread among a reasonable large pool of people. For obvious reason, it would be ridiculous if you talked to your partner and said that someone is an idiot and that would be a criminal act. – d-b Apr 3 at 8:50
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    @d-b "received large distribution" is one of the criteria that can be used to determine if the stronger form of the crime is applicable. (Sorry, I can't think of the proper English legal term at the moment.) I would imagine that something being told to a large fraction of employers in a reasonable locale would likely qualify. Either way, a lawyer specializing in this would be able to give an informed opinion about whether it's prosecutable, but the statement by the lawyer OP talked to that the boss "is just exercising his freedom of speech" doesn't hold water for me, given the rest of the Q. – a CVn Apr 3 at 8:58
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    @d-b nope. As stated "unless disclosing it is required or can be shown to be justified under the circumstances" the definition of justified here is very loose; and for your example, talking to your partner about pretty much anything I would say is justified. – UKMonkey Apr 3 at 13:43
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    @UKMonkey Can you refer a case where someone was convicted for defamation for something he/she said to a couple of "generic" friends (that is, if you are member of a club and tell three members, that happens to be your friends too, something about a fourth member of that club - the friends are not "generic" but "club related" or something like that)? I don't believe it works like that. – d-b Apr 3 at 14:56
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    @d-b I'll leave you to re-read my comment again. – UKMonkey Apr 3 at 14:58
5

First of all, DO NOT PANIC; life has a mysterious way of sorting things out.

If I were in your situation, I would:

  • Change your CV information, i.e., email and phone number, and do not have it on any public job sites; only apply directly to jobs you are interested in.
  • Find references you can trust, and that will not lead any new interviewers to your old boss.
  • When you do have an interview, be sneaky: let it slip to an employee you know will speak with your old boss, and brag about it, say you have a fantastic opportunity with company A, when you are really interviewing with company B. Send this snake of a boss down the wrong path.
  • Finally, when YOU DO FIND A NEW JOB (and you will), just leave as quietly as you can and put this horrible experience behind you.
3

There are other people out there who have been his victims in the past. If I were you I would reach out to them individually, explain what you are going through, ask for their help. Linked-In is an easy way to find/contact them if you don't have info handy. If you are presented as a good bet by someone already working in a company, who can explain how toxic your soon-to-be-ex manager is and that he should not be trusted, you have a much better chance to get employed.

Another solution is that you should be looking hard in Germany too. It's highly unlikely that your boss' reputation will extend that far, and he won't be able to block you so effectively. And you will have the native advantage there, which is helpful. You can always get another job in Sweden in a few years, when things settle down, if you still want to. I realize you were trying to minimize disruption to your personal life but you might not have much of a choice.

Lastly, if you are in Sweden you should have easy access to some mental health counseling. Don't overlook how destructive an experience like yours can be, even if you have not quite been driven to suicide. Find a counselor who works with bullying, and work on recovering, you really need that even if you end up happy somewhere else, OK? Also check out http://www.bullyonline.org, you are not alone.

3

I suggest to listen to the advice of a lawyer you actually pay yourself. At this point, with the manipulated paper trail, the defamation, and his mysterious ability to find out where you're interviewing, local laws and the way the local judiciary applies them are everything.

Additionally, the boss isn't nearly as well connected and liked as you think he is. Unless you use your work computer to set up interviews, the only way he hears about your interviews is when your interviewers contact himself, or anyone whom's email he reads, as a reference. If you haven't already done so, modify your CV to provide your own references instead (any 2 high ranking people who work at your company, but ask them if you can give their private contact information, not company).

And admit in the CV that you're leaving your company because the relationship with your boss has become unsalvageable, before the prospective employer has to find out on their own. You may even want to go further and mention that this relationship has become unsalvageable "following and related to a coworker's suicide attempt".

2

One thing you must never do during the interview stage is trash your former employers regardless of the fact that might be total trolls. In this particular instance your need to look at it from your prospective employers viewpoint. Doing so signals to your new employer that if you talk that way about a previous employer they wonder "What will he say about us a few years down the line?".

The things that bullies fear the most is exposure. Give them exposure and they lose their power over their victim.

What this individual is doing is violating the confidentiality of employee information and thereby violating several company policies as well as several laws regarding privacy. On the legal aspect he is committing a crime. He is also defaming a former employee and abusing his position of authority. He is also stalking you. A lot of companies have policies regarding conduct both on the job and off the job while employed by this firm. The individual as a manager or supervisor is also a representative of the company. If he is committing criminal acts on the job he also implicates the company by default and opens them up to court sanctions (fines) as well as litigation.

One thing I have noticed in my career that a lot of supervisors or managers are hired not because of intellectual prowess but just because they are ruthless. A lot of the stuff that these people get try to get with Human Resources or upper management are not aware because they are kept in dark.

If you advise H.R be sure to copy the email to someone like a vice-president as this will get a quicker response. In order to do this do research on the company so you know who to contact. When contacting these individuals always be polite and professional. Make you are very specific with as many details as possible such as people you've encountered on your job hunt that he defamed you. Prior to doing so contact the troll in question in writing (email-time and date stamped) and wait for a reply. You will then have some documented evidence to substantiate your complaint.

The onus is now the company will be to deal with this troll seeing that they are implicated as well. The troll will likely get fired for just cause because the company won't have many options. When they discover that if they don't it could interpreted as complete and full knowledge of his actions as well as tacit consent in a court of law. Also when it gets in court this issue is now public record.

Now the troll is cooked....Revenge is a dish best served cold

1

In essence and in disguise, the gentleman in point appears to continue to do outside of the company what he does inside of it. At some (unknown) point this will fire him back, since observers will start to notice that his enterprises have a high turnover rate of skilled employees.

More pragmatically, it could be useful that your exit package includes a written statement of the HR saying in neutral terms that you have been a honest and hard-working employee. Then you can fight the gentleman's claims with an official piece of paper, and stimulate a critical attitude in your future employers, rather than their fear for letting the wrong one in.

I guess that the HR department should not oppose too much resistance to that. In essence one of their aims is to avoid that you suit the company for your manager's bad practices. I could also imagine that your exit package includes a clausule that you, in turn, don't have to defamate your company, beside the classical non-disclosure of sensitive information. In this way, there is a possibility that frictions die off in a while, perhaps because the HR will whisper in your ex-manager's ear to park the issues, and perhaps because you will be more convincing in defending your professionalism.

All other advice given elsewhere in this post sound also convincing to me.

You are certainly in a difficult situation, from which you will learn a lot. Please turn back to the whiskey just when you fancy it; it will barely help you now. You most probably need good people around you, offering sound advice and genuine affection. Clear mind follows.

0

Unfortunately I disagree with the highest voted answer. You can't speak to someone who doesn't want to listen.

Now I am searching for a new job and facing a true job seeker's nightmare:

interviews being cancelled at the last moment people that tried to recruit me in the past do not even reply to my emails yesterday's interviewers hanging out the phone

Black list them. Remove them from your contacts. Block them permanently. For your entire lifetime. Expose them if possible. If they don't want to hear your side of the story they don't deserve you and you shouldn't be working with them.

Both told me that technically he is just exercising his freedom of speech

What? Seriously? If it was that simple, there wouldn't be any defamation lawsuits. Anywhere in the world that respects "free speech". Get a second (even a third) opinion.

so I went back to office after work hours and found out that my inbox is missing lots of emails sent to him and HR.

Backups? Get a subpoena to confiscate the mail servers (assuming they are on premises) for retrieval of the missing emails? The fact that he deleted evidence in some judicial systems is a prof of guilt by itself. Check with a lawyer. I know from one of your comments that you don't want to go to trial. Makes sense. Who wants to? Have the above though in the back of your head just in case you are forced to go to trial.

Now I am having a panic attack and trying to calm myself with whiskey

Please put the glass down mate. It won't help. You need to think clearly and this isn't the right way :( With all the respect and without any intention to belittle the seriousness of your situation. Just me being human above all...

How can I prevent my former boss from sabotaging future job opportunities?

Here is the difficult part: you can't prevent people from listening to the rumors. Good news, you are already on the right track (by talking to lawyer + union).

  • Get another lawyer. That one seems suspicious to me.
  • Rebuild your network. All recruiters are "friendly" when they want to match you on "their next big thing" but real friends prove themselves in hard times. Contact the existing ones. If they avoid you BLOCK THEM and find others. Every day I receive an invitation on linked in from a poor soul trying to create a network. They would be happy to add you.
  • Cut the communication line! Your boss seems to be getting information from somewhere that normally shouldn't get. Spyware on your work machine (or cell phone)? Access to way too many recruiters because "it's a small world"? I don't know. Somehow he is ahead of you. You need to try and cut the information line. Check if specifically that (backchanneling) is illegal. If it is ask a lawyer how to use it against him.
  • Add a strong disclaimer in your cover letter that you don't consent to background check or communicating former and current bosses. They should at least notify you and then you can explain them the situation with as little details as possible.
  • Worst case scenario: in your CV mention "[Unicorn herding] engineer at undisclosed company" instead of the actual company name. If they ask you, "sorry I can't say, I'm bound by a NDA". Of course you will have to simply outline your highlights and leave the gory details out.
  • Alternative worst case scenario: search for remote jobs

A word of caution

The whole thing smells something bad: CORRUPTION. You have all the signs of it:

  • Lawyer and union that tells you to suck it up
  • A (former) boss that knows what you will do before you do it.
  • And that's my favorite: a company that prefers to listen to him instead of their own people. Really? All the team was on board to take you but some stranger (to them) tells them NOOOO!!! and suddenly that's it? I suspect blackmail-extortion.

I wish you good luck and hang on in there.

NB: If you need to go to the darker side (PROCEED WITH CAUTION)

Here is the even more difficult part. He made it personal. One more time: THIS IS PERSONAL. It's another thing to have work problems with someone and another thing to want to destroy someone. I strongly suggest you return the favor once you put your ducks together and you have your confidence up again.

  • Hire a private investigator if your financial status allows you to. He sold a company for 24M. I once tried to sell a tech product for 200K and I realized that the dirt I had to go in was bigger than I could handle. There are huge chances that he has small or big dirts. If you get someone dig up you might find something to...
  • Counterattack! He is now focused on making your life hell. You try to defend yourself. If you counterattack he will be forced to get his attention from you to his own problems. Eventually he will leave you alone. Your fingerprints shouldn't be on this one. Always consult with a lawyer on how to use the obtained information. In order to have your back covered from retaliation...
  • Be stealth. Under no circumstances he should know you are investigating him. If he does, I'm afraid he has the means and financial capacity to retaliate you. Proceed with caution.
  • "some stranger (to them) tells them NO... I suspect blackmail-extortion" Unfortunately in "small pond" areas he may be a stranger with a good reputation, or actually not a stranger at all. Someone I know took an employer to court for some horrific harassment, was awarded a token amount and then was unemployable in the area for years. Nothing was provable, but we learned that the creepy ex boss would talk about her often (in breach of the settlement), or hiring managers would see his company on the CV and call him cos they knew him, even though he (obviously) wasn't listed as a reference. – Player One Apr 27 at 10:53
  • @PlayerOne that's why I suggested anonymising the company on the CV, if things turn that nasty. – anon Apr 30 at 21:04

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