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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
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Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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If an employee tells a senior member IE director things they

Resolved Question:

If an employee tells a senior member IE director things they know to be or can be proved to be untrue about a supplier, does this count as deformation? Is there any privilege between employee and employer
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: 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. What is your involvement in this, are you the supplier?
Customer:

Yes

Customer:

This is a long issue where we were forced out from a client, basically a group of staff combined to remove us. They made false allegations and complaints to discredit us and then have our contract terminated. The Trustees (it was a charity) then wrote a open letter to all staff, naming me personally and the company, as having stolen equipment (which we had not) and a range of other acts. The staff had previously made false allegations that we were dangerous etc..

Customer:

Forget the basics we understand that (slander\Libel etc) is there any privilege in in company conversation, emails, information transfer? or is it all deformation if untrue or they know it to be untrue?

Ben Jones :

Hello, no there is no automatic privilege between employer and employee or internal communications. The conditions that must be met to shoew a statement was defamatory 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.

There are some privileges that may provide a defence to the person making the statement but these are quite limited and you xan find a summary of these here:

http://www.yourrights.org.uk/yourrights/right-of-free-expression/defamation/qualified-privilege.html

None would really apply in the circumstances you mention.

Customer:

If it doesn't mention in some cases directly, for example He, or for example the man who does the drains (wasn't about drains!) but by using that terminology it was apparently obvious who was meant. Basically we had supplied services to them for the last Ten years so by saying our previous X supplier, would be obvious to all concerned.

Customer:

Does that count?

Customer:

BY saying "he" you refer to previous correspondence that does name names... does that count in context..

Ben Jones :

Yes that can count

Ben Jones :

It is not necessary to mention someone by name

Ben Jones :

If it is clear who you were referring to

Customer:

Thanks Ben thats very helpful. One final what about implication? You state in a letter for example that equipment was removed, and a police log was created and an incident number logged. Implying that the police concur, however although that had happened the incident number merely records your complaint and no action is taken. By leaving out the last bit you imply so much more... Does that count also?

Customer:

It had happened only that a incident number was achieved by making them aware, the actual theft had not and no action or conviction (even arrests) took place.

Ben Jones :

That would be difficult to use in the circumstances - defamation is about making false statements, not about leaving bits out to imply something, if the statement contained the truth, it is not defamatory

Ben Jones :

It is not impossible but it would be difficult

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

Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 46196
Experience: Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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