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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 47344
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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if a person is threatening to send a facebook post you made

Resolved Question:

if a person is threatening to send a facebook post you made on your personal facebook account to every director in your company is this right? the post does not name the person in question or the company in anyway, but they feel it is directed at them. it would just be very embarrising that it would happen and jeprodise my future progress within the company that i have worked for 10years.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. can you tell me is this person also an employee of you company please.

Customer:

no just a customer. i am a pub landlady and the customer in question has been gossiping around town about my personal life etc. we have had words about it outside of my business, he made a point of coming over to me in another venue dispite the fact he knows that i am extremley upset with his actions and do not wish to have anything to do with him. i was annoyed by this so i wrote on my own personal facebook page something to the effect 'it doesnt matter where you go there is always one c**t. why did we ever ban hunting?' that was all. i should tell you that his surname is ***** ***** am not friends with this person on facebook and i have fairly high sercuirty settings. he must have used someone elses facebook account to access this. he has spoken directly to my employer, for no other reason but to cause me hassle, embarrasment and stress as he is not excluded from my permises, he recieves the same service as everyone else and all issues we have had occured outside of the pub that i run therefore has nothing to do with my employer. he stated to my employer that if anyone found out that he had called to speak to my employer that he would then send the post to the directors of my company. this in itself wouldnt be grounds for my company to take any direct action againist me but they would not be happy either. therefore effecting my repuation within my company. It all prob sounds very petty which it is. I was happy just to dislike the man but now he is bringing my employer into it that changes the stakes for me. I feel that it is very difficult to me to handle him now when he is being out of order as he could then send the post into the directors whenever he likes. i am very stressed about this and would really like him to stop.

Ben Jones :

Hi, whilst I understand your concerns about this post being forwarded to your employer, it is not unlawful to do so. It may be morally wrong but it is not unlawful. By making the post on your Facebook account you have made it public, regardless of what security settings you have, therefore you cannot expect any privacy rights over it – hence why people should be careful about what they post on there as it can get in the wrong hands or be taken out of context. So if this person has found a copy of this post they can do with it as they wish, including sending it to the company. What they do with it afterwards is up to them but with 10 years’ service and no specific remarks directed at anyone in particular or mentioning names, it may be difficult for them to take formal action against you.

In terms of what you can do against this person in general then eventually their actions could amount to harassment. The relevant legislation that deals with harassment is The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 in civil cases and The Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 in criminal cases. The law states that a person must not pursue a course of conduct which amounts to harassment of another and which he or she knows or ought to know amounts to harassment. Although there is no definition of what specifically amounts to harassment, it would usually include alarming a person or causing them distress and must have occurred on at least two occasions.

Under criminal law, and if this is reported to the police who then take action, the punishment for harassment can be imprisonment and/or a fine. A court may also impose a restraining order for the purpose of protecting the victim.

In addition to criminal action, a civil claim can also be brought against a person who is alleged to be guilty of causing harassment. The courts would award compensation to the victim, something that is unlikely to happen if this is pursued as a criminal issue.

So in the first instance the police can be contacted and this matter reported to them as harassment. However, they will not often get involved in trivial disputes so if they believe that this is not serious enough they could refuse to help and advise you that this is a civil matter. In such circumstances, the victim can warn the harasser that their actions are being treated as harassment and that unless they refrain from such behaviour in the future they will be reported to the police and legal action under harassment legislation taken against them.

Hope this clarifies your position? If you could please let me know that would be great, thank you

Customer:

ok thats fine.

Customer:

so am i right in thinking the fact that his only puropse of sending that post would be to cause me distress, which is why he has threatened it could be deemed harrassement. he gains nothing out of it personally. do i warn him personally that i feel this is harrassement and that im treating it as such or what?

Ben Jones :

yes you would be warning him personally about this as he is personally doing these things to upset you

Ben Jones :

Please let me know if this has answered your original question or if you need me to clarify anything else for you in relation to this? Thanks

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