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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 47917
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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good afternoon. Three years ago I was (WRONGLY) of bullying

Resolved Question:

good afternoon. Three years ago I was (WRONGLY) of bullying by a colleague. this, after an internal investigation, eventually got me dismissed from my job. This colleague has again tried the same ploy with another person, (my substitute, in fact), however, on this occasion, alerted by others, my substitute was able to prove the charges were not true and now the colleague who falsely accused me is being dismissed. Do I have any recourse? Can I sue him for false allegations? or my employer for dismissing me? An answer gratefully received
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.

Ben Jones : Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. How long did you work there for at the time of dismissal and wen did it take place? Please note I am mobile today so may not be able to respond fully until this evening thanks
Customer:

I worked there for 4 years and three months, from Janyary 2007 to April 2011

Customer:

perhaps if you are not online you should not take this on... I actually need an answer now

Ben Jones :

Hi, thanks for your patience, I am online now but to be honest no one else apart from me specialising in employment is online today anyway. Unfortunately you are now out of time to challenge the dismissal itself as you only have 3 months from the date of dismissal to make a claim for unfair dismissal against the employer. This is even if you only just found out facts that showed the dismissal was unfair. This is a strictly enforced time limit. In relation to pursuing the employee you have a couple of options but they won't be easy. One is to claim defamation, but this is extremely complex and expensive, you are easily looking at a five-figure sum to pursue it and to be honest it is going to be an unrealistic claim to pursue. The other is to go for malicious falsehood. In a claim for malicious falsehood you must prove that the statement was not true and published maliciously. Malice is defined as a statement made by a party who knows that the statement is false or reckless as to its truth. There has to be an intention for the statement to be false, it can't just be negligently false.

Customer:

well, ok, how do I prove this? or do I need to prove it?

Customer:

would the fact he has tried to defamate my colleague be enough?

Customer:

it was definitely reckless as it changed my life completely, and he knew that would happen if i were to be found guilty

Ben Jones :

You are making the claim and you would need to prove it. Also what has happened to your colleague will not automatically mean the same happened to you so you cannot simply rely on that to show you have a valid claim.

Ben Jones :

Some useful information on making the claim and what you need to prove can be found here:

http://www.findlaw.co.uk/law/accidents_and_injuries/defamation/500614.html

Customer:

should I let this go then? I was unable to prove he lied in the first place as all the abuse i received happened off cctv cameras.... except to say that when we went through mediation the mediator called me aside and told me that she had never encountered anyone as angry and nasty and also asked me if I felt safe to walk the streets, so to speak, knowing he was around

Customer:

at the time I decided not to fight the claim in court due to cost and the fact I was taking on a very large organization with big gun lawyers....

Ben Jones :

If it is just your word against his, then it could be difficult to prove. Also even if you win it does not guarantee any compensation - he could refuse to pay and you are then stuck with trying to enforce the judgment, such as by paying for bailiffs or other enforcement options. You could carry on spending more and more trying to get money from him and he could continue resisting until you give up or find something that works, so it is far from guaranteed or easy. Not deliberately trying to put you off, just making you aware of how these things are in reality

Customer:

also i went through a very depressed phase, unstable even, and I felt too stressed to pursue the claim. the firm did pay me 38k in an out of court settlement... howeer i have paied much more in real terms and would like to clear my name once and for all

Ben Jones :

Did you sign a compromise agreement when you got the payout from them?

Customer:

yes, it was part of the deal

Customer:

with the firm, but not with the guy....

Customer:

I guess they are one and the same in this case.... i will just be content to know he has now lost his job through stupidity....

Customer:

his actions have drastically changed my life though...

Customer:

and no matter what people say, such as... evrything happens for a reason, things will be better eventually etc, I am not feeling that way

Ben Jones :

If you signed a compromise agreement with the company then you would have agreed not to pursue them any further in the future over the dismissal. If you do, you are in breach of the agreement and they can sue you to recover what you were paid under it. And you are out of time to sue them anyway. So your only recourse is against the individual, under the defamation or malicious falsehood

Customer:

There are exceptions to the requirement for the claimant to prove special damage. The Defamation Act 1952 states that it is not necessary to do so in the following circumstances:


(a) if the words of the defendant are likely to cause economic damage to the claimant and are published in writing or another permanent form; or


(b) if the words of the defendant are likely to cause economic damage to the claimant in respect of any office, profession, calling, trade or business held or carried on by the claimant at the time of the publication.

Customer:

would this not be applicable in my case?

Customer:

errr... the time limit of one year, does it apply to when the action was committed or when I found out the new evidence that can help me prove diffamation or falsehood?

Ben Jones :

This is the second part of the claim, you still need to prove the statements were made and that they were false and then you move on to the damages that were suffered

Customer:

what constitutes proof?

Customer:

of course i can proe the statement were made, as they are in writing...

Customer:

the false bit is circumstantial though... as there were no witnesses

Ben Jones :

the time limit generally runs from the time the statement was made, although it can be extended in limited circumstances if it was not obvious until a later date that the statement was made - saying that it is only extended at the court's discretion. Proof...well how do you define proof, you will have to convince a court that was was said and the truth are different, using whatever evidence you have, that will of course differ from case to case

Customer:

except to say i am not a bully and i have a good record of employment

Customer:

would you say the claim is too frail to be taken to court? it would cost me a lot of money, i guess....

Customer:

and i know he only has a little flat oin brixton.... so not much in the way of assets

Customer:

having said that a little flat in brixton is worth quite bit in today's climate

Ben Jones :

Obviously I can't say with certainty how strong it is as I have limited information but there are certainly risks - you need to be careful not to pursue this out of principle because you can easily dig yourself a big hole in which you could end up. You need to think about the wider picture, consider the costs involved, whether you can prove what is needed and the chances of recovering anything from this person. But a court will not just chuck him out of his flat to make him pay you so in the best scenario you could get a charging order on the flat which means when it is sold you could get part of the proceeds but there is no guarantee when that would happen and you could be waiting for a while....obviously you also need to win the claim and obtain judgment in your favour first

Customer:

ok, as I have done so far, i will sit on the side of the river and wait for his corpse to pass by... at the moment it is on the horizin, but flapping, still... thank you for this.....

Customer:

how do we close this chat?

Ben Jones :

You can just select a smiley face and it will close it

Customer:

ok... thank you again

Customer:

cannot choose a smiley face... reply again and then it can be closed

Ben Jones :

ah, we get this bug sometimes..you can just type your choice here and we will process it manually then you can just close the chat

Customer:

ok... your answers were good... thank you!

Customer:

.

Ben Jones :

You are welcome, all the best

Customer:

I hope I get a good tan with all this sitting around on the side of the river.... I may choose a river in a mild, sunny country, with good fishing..... xxx

Ben Jones :

:) it will make passing the time more bearable hopefully

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