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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 44871
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Hi I work for an agency as a temp cook for coventry city council

Customer Question

Hi I work for an agency as a temp cook for coventry city council in schools and elderly people homes. I have been doing this for past 6 months with no problems at all. Infact I had had nothing but great feedback from everywhere I had worked. On the 11th September I was asked to work in a school for 7 weeks. I arrived to do my shift and worked along side a perminate member of staff to show me the ropes. I took notes as every kitchen is different. A assistant Area manger came in to do an audit, The girl I was working with told the manager It was nice to put a face to someone she had heard so much about as she had followed me into another school where i was popular. she also said Ive told her to apply to the council direct. I replyed that I had done but due to the site crashing when I submitted my application form I had not been given an iterview. I explained to this manager what had happened. At lunch I made 1 mistake not realising that the children only had 1 veg not 2.....apologised when told as didnt realised. Thought everything was ok, finished shift half an hour later than I should have but wanted to make sure I had down all that i needed to know. Got home around 5pm, to get a phonecall from the Agency telling me that they had had an email telling them not to send me back to the school the following day but gave no reason as to why. They asked how the day had gone and i went through the day, at no time did they ever say I was ding things incorrectly. The agency has been trying to get feedback as they were as suprised as me due to the good comments I had had in the past. Yesturday I had an email from the agency with the feedback that the council had given.....I was shocked and in my eyes untrue.

Feedback below:
Issues were raised with regards XXXXX XXXXX an effective working
relationship with the line manager, and acting in a professional manner at
all times, adhering to the Councils Code of Conduct.
Failing to follow rules and standards set by the department and by the line
manager.
Maintaining a standard of dress and appearance as appropriate in the
workplace for the work being undertaken.

I asked as soon as I arrived if I was being given a uniform to wear like I did at the other school. I wasnt given one. I wore my own, black trousers, white poloshirt , black apron & hat, so do not understand where the last comment has come from. None of the comments make any sense to me.
Those comments will now be on my record with the agency. I work for them at weekends on a job i have been in for 4 months and still doing,
Do I have a case to accuse the council of defamation of charater, as they have blackene my name and reputation. I have been a cook for over 35 years and never in all my time had anything said like that about me. They have given nothing to backup what they have said.. kind regards XXXXX XXXXX
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is Ben and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Ben Jones :

Before proceeding please note that as I am a practising solicitor, I am often in and out of meetings, travelling between clients or even at court when I pick your question up. This may even occur at weekends. Therefore, I apologise in advance but there may be a delay in getting back to you and providing my advice. Please be patient and I will respond as soon as I can. You do not have to wait here and you will receive an email when I have responded. For now please let me know how what loss you have suffered?

JACUSTOMER-tei8bk6i- :

I have lost 3 weeks work up to now as they agency have been unable to give me other work within the council

JACUSTOMER-tei8bk6i- :

Ive also lost my good name and work reputation, the agency are unable to send me to any other school to work, but I am still working 4 hours at the weekend in a sheltered old people home for them and have been for 16 weeks. This I have been told I can continue to do

Ben Jones :

Whilst this may be a potential case of defamation (a false written or oral statement made without justification), such claims are extremely difficult to pursue. I will explain why below.

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 claimant.
  3. It must have been made sufficiently public (communicating it to just a few people will not be enough).
  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. The claimant must have suffered some form of special damage as a result of the comments (usually required to be some form of actual or potential financial damage, although in some cases damage to reputation can also be taken into account).

Consider whether all of the above criteria have been met. Even if they have, the claim will be pursued through the High Court. This inevitably makes such claims very complex and they require the professional help of specialist defamation lawyers. Therefore, they are very expensive and would cost thousands of pounds to pursue. There is no legal aid available so the claimant has to personally fund these costs.

Next, you need to consider whether the person that made the statement will be able to defend the claim. The following are acceptable defences:

  • Justification – the ultimate defence to a claim for defamation is showing that the statement was true;
  • Fair comment – if the comment was a view that a reasonable person could have held, even if they were motivated by dislike or hatred of the claimant;

Based on the above, it is clear that defamation is a complex and expensive area with no guarantee of success. It is traditionally an area reserved for big corporations or celebrities. I would therefore advise against pursuing a court claim for defamation as it is unlikely you will get much out of it and will spend a considerable amount of money in the process.

As difficult as it may be to accept these comments, you may eventually have to, although there is of course nothing stopping you from contacting the school and asking them to clarify or remove these comments.

JACUSTOMER-tei8bk6i- :

Thank you. I was going to write to the council, as it has nothing to do with the school I was at. I work for the agency who are employed by the city council catering services. So I am within my rights to contact the catering services to remove those comments ?unless they clarify what they meant. I feel very victimised, in what they said. At no time during the shift did they speak to me or tell me I was doing anything wrong. Can that feedback go against me for a reference, would the agency have to include those comments in a reference?

JACUSTOMER-tei8bk6i- :

Is there nothing I can challenge them with? as what they have written is not true

Ben Jones :

you can ask them to remove them but cannot force them to if they refuse , so you are more or less appealing to their good nature at this time. the agency does not have to include these comments in a reference, if they do they will not be doing much wrong as they are not the ones that made the comments, they have to trust their client, so you can only challenge those who made them.

Ben Jones :

But there is certainly no guarantee they will be included in a reference and you can also ask the agency that they do not include these

Ben Jones :

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

Ben Jones :

I hope this has answered your query. Please take a second to leave a positive rating, or if you are unhappy for some reason with the advice - please get back to me and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you very much

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