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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 47421
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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My employment has been terminated and I have been placed on

Resolved Question:

My employment has been terminated and I have been placed on garden l have been advised by a customer of the company that my boss told them " I sacked her because she was a n obstruction and I removed the obstruction" I held a senior position within the company and I feel this is defamatory and should not have been discussed with the customer. I have been there less than a year and my boss has been there 3 weeks. Is there anything I can do about the remarks made? I have not had the reasons in writing for my termination.
thanks.
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 have you had any previous disciplinary. and are you saying you have not been given a reason for being dismissed please.

Customer:

Hi Ben,

Customer:

I have not had any disciplinary action against me. I was called into a meeting supposedly to discuss a report I had sent that had an error. She stated it was a difficult conversation and that it wasn't working out between us and there was the opportunity to make it difficult for both of us so she was moving me on . She then said that she thought i did not have the skills for the company or job I was doing. There wasn't an independent HR person in the meeting to take notes.

Ben Jones :

OK thank you, ***** ***** it with me. I am in a tribunal today so will prepare my advice during the day and get back to you this evening. There is no need to wait and you will receive an email when I have responded. Thank you

Customer:

ok thanks. my email is *****@******.***

Ben Jones :

Thanks for your patience. As far as the dismissal itself is concerned you are not going to be able to challenge that because you need 2 years’ continuous service with the employer to be able to take the matter further. So the only issue is whether the comments amounted to defamation and you can do something about it.

Whilst this may appear to be a potential case of defamation (this includes libel if it is in written form, or slander if it is in oral form), such claims are extremely difficult to pursue. Many people are intent on suing for defamation without having any appreciation of the law behind them, so I will try and clear things up for you now.

First of all, certain conditions must be met for the statement to be classified as defamatory. These are:

1. The statement has to be untrue.

2. It must directly identify the complainant.

3. It must have been published, usually communicated to at least another person.

4. It must be in a form of words, which would tend to lower the claimant in the estimation of ‘right thinking members of society generally', expose the claimant to hatred, contempt or ridicule, or cause the claimant to be shunned or avoided.

5. Its publication has caused or is likely to cause serious harm to the reputation of the claimant.

Whilst it may be easy to prove that defamation has occurred, the legal process of pursuing such a claim is extremely complex and expensive. As this goes through the High Court, you would need the professional help of specialist defamation solicitors and the costs are undoubtedly going to run into the thousands right at the outset. Also there is no legal aid available for such claims so the complainant must fund these personally. So when you hear about defamation claims being made, these are usually pursued by big corporations or celebrities who have a public image to protect.

You must also consider whether the party alleged of making the defamatory statement can defend the claim. Even if you satisfy the criteria to prove the statement was defamatory it could be defended on a number of grounds, including by providing evidence that the statement was substantially true or an honest opinion.

There is of course nothing stopping you from contacting the other party and threatening them that what they have done amounts to defamation and that you will consider pursuing the matter further if they do not retract their statement. This could prompt them to reconsider their position, but I would not recommend that you actually proceed with a claim for defamation due to the issues highlighted above.

I hope this clarifies your position? If you could please quickly let me know that would be great, as it is important for us to keep track of customer satisfaction. Thank you

Customer:

Good morning Ben,

Ben Jones :

Hi there, did you mean to post anything else apart from the above? Thanks

Customer:

Good morning Ben, apologies got distracted and never got back to this. I don't think it would be best to go forward with this route, but wondered whether raising a grievance would be adviseable. I believe the company has not acted in good faith and has breached an implied term of trust and confidence by speaking to a third party in derogatory terms about my employment.

Customer:

thanks.

Ben Jones :

Hello, you have nothing to lose really by raising a grievance - it should be heard formally and you may get a positive outcome. The issue is that even though they may have breached the implied term of trust and confidence you cannot use that now to resign and claim constructive dismissal - you have already resigned and that is not the reason for the resignation so you cannot now go on to use that and claim constructive dismissal. So a grievance may be the only option available here.

Ben Jones :

Hope this clarifies things for you a bit m

ore?

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