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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 46798
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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i have an ex employee threatening to go to a contract we worked

Resolved Question:

i have an ex employee threatening to go to a contract we worked on and create problems by reporting bad workmanship (i can prove otherwise ) and breaches of health and safety (Not sure what but no major infringements that i know of)
this action will jepardise my contract
His argument is that i owe him £1900 in unpaid wages from 21/7/14.I agreed to pay him £150 per 8 hr shift he was told last week that i was charging client time and half and he now wants the balance
I had paid him upto date on a weekly basis and had no queries on amount received prior to this demand
Cis tax was deducted at source and paid to hmrc
What can i do
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.Do you actually still owe him anything?

Customer: No
Customer: I have paper work that shows I actually over paid him on this particular job
Customer: he also has tools that belongs to me that have not been returned
Ben Jones :

So hat are you hoping to achieve exactly in this situation?

Ben Jones :

*what

Customer:

Where do i stand legally if he attempts to contact my contract and put my job in jepardy

Customer:

it almost appears to be blackmail,if I pay he goes away if I don't pay he disrups my life

Ben Jones :

His actions could amount to defamation. However, 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, unless the losses that may be incurred would justify you pursuing such a claim.


Customer:

so i can do little to stop him ruining my life

Ben Jones :

no, there are ways of stopping him, but it is not always straightforward, that is the point I was trying to send across

Customer:

He sent an email to my contracts manager telling him that his plan was unless i paid by monday afternoon he would proceed with his threat.so it means he has conveyed to a third party

Ben Jones :

that may be the case but showing losses at this stage may be difficult. If he wants the money back then he should not be doing what he is proposing to but take you to the small claims court instead.

Customer:

but as a court battle is out of the question,I am now lookig at alternative options

Ben Jones :

yes and you need to look at making it clear what his actions will amount to and then considering your next steps depending on what he actually does - the law does not allow you to prevent his proposed actions, but instead you would be seeking restitution should that happen

Customer:

He said Quote "i have been advised that i can go down the small claims route but it is a pricey and drawn out process.money and time not being on my side at the moment i have been told the best thing to do is to advise that you either pay me the £1900 i am owed into my bank by monday afternoon otherwise i am going to B & Q" unquote

Ben Jones :

hardly a pricey and drawn out process... it is the preferred route for such disputes. Him doing what he has said he will do will not get him his money back, far from it. And as mentioned you can certainly advise him of what you may do if he was to proceed

Customer:

So in your opinion should I email him explaining that his actions would cause me to seek restitution for loss of earnings etc etc before or after

Ben Jones :

before or after what?

Customer:

before or after he has contact with B & Q

Ben Jones :

certainly before so that at least that gives him a warning and he can reconsider his position before he decides on how to proceed

Customer:

Should i have a solicitor draw up a letter or just send email

Ben Jones :

it is not necessary to have a lawyer do this - some people may think it looks more official and shows that you are taking this seriously and have perhaps taken legal advise over it but it is not a legal requirement

Customer:

Thanks for your time Ben. I am happy to leave positive feedback

Ben Jones :

you are most welcome, all the best

Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 46798
Experience: Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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