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Jenny
Jenny, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 6307
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor specialising in Employment Law and general legal matters. Please start your question For Jenny Only
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, My friend has just been dismissed from a company where

Customer Question

Hi,
My friend has just been dismissed from a company where she worked through a contractor. The reason given was breech of confidentiality. Another contractor, also working for the same Client, made an allegation against my friend that she had told suppliers visiting her (person making allegation) that these suppliers had said 'they heard from reception that the company were making lots of redundancies'. It has been assumed that the person who said it was my friend because she checked the guests in at reception. It was not her and, the suppliers have provided a statement to say it was not her. However, based on this third party allegation, the Client has removed from friend. The contractor who directly employs my friend is currently looking for an alternative job within the Client base. Does my friend have grounds to sue the woman who has, without any evidence at all, accused my friend, lost her her job, tarred her reputation, caused her no end of stress and anxiety etc etc, for Slander? Thank you.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jenny replied 2 years ago.
Hello my name is ***** ***** I am happy to help you today.
How long has your friend worked there for?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Jenny, I am not too sure but I know it is less than 2 years.

Expert:  Jenny replied 2 years ago.
Has she got any evidence that this person has done this to her or is it just an assumption?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

No, she has been told that this person has made the allegation against her

Expert:  Jenny replied 2 years ago.
I am so sorry for the delay I was called away on something urgent.
Who has told her this?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Her boss called her into his office and told her she was being suspended. A day later she collected a letter from her boss who explained the allegation made against her.

At a meeting yesterday she was told that the Client (where she was working through the contractor employing her) did not want her to return. Her own employer had, however, challenged the decision in light of the statements received from the suppliers who supposedly said what they had heard to this person, stating that it had not been my friend who had made the comment at all.

Expert:  Jenny replied 2 years ago.
Can the employer place her with a different client or will she lose her ability to earn altogether as a result of this?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Her employer is going to make a decision within the next few days as to whether they will also dismiss her. I don't think they will but there is a possibility. They have said that they will try and find her an alternative role but this could mean less money, more hours, extensive travelling or, they may not find her a suitable role at all in which case her contract will be terminated.

Expert:  Jenny replied 2 years ago.
Ok the truth of the matter is that it is very difficult to bring the kind of claim that you are asking about, particuarly in the context of employment. The reason for this is that in order for a claim of slander to succeed the statement should be 'publically made' and statements made in the context of employment do not meet that test. In addition it is a terribly difficult claim to prove without concrete evidence which your friend does not have. Furthermore it can cost tens of thousands of pounds to bring a claim of this nature, so financially it is probably not worth it.
Sadly this kind of thing happens often in employment and as your friend has less than 2 years service then there is very little she can do in practice other than put it down to experience.
Hopefully she will be retained by the employer in another capacity.
If you have any further questions please do ask. If I have answered your question I would be grateful if you would take the time to rate my answer. Thank you and all the best.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

So even though this woman has 'publicly' told the Client and my friend's employer that it was my friend who made the breech of confidence comment and has lost her one position and potentially her job overall too, she has no recourse against this woman for a wrongful allegation, that has written statements from the 2 suppliers that it was not my friend who said it? No wonder people take the law in to their own hands!

Expert:  Jenny replied 2 years ago.
There is caselaw that states that in the context of employment a statement is not made publically. I am really sorry that it is not the answer you want. I agree with you that it is unsatisfactory that the law does not protect people in your friends position.
It would however be unfair for me to tell you that your friend should pursue a claim when the reality is that there is little point in her doing so from either a legal or a financial point of view.
If there is anything further you would like to know please do let me know.
Jenny and 3 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Ok thank you. I understand what you have said but it does not make it fair when quite clearly this woman had no proof that it was my friend who made the comment before she made the accusation and has, as a direct result, caused no end of damage to my friends career, reputation, health and, potentially her standard of living, if she can indeed find another position at all.

Expert:  Jenny replied 2 years ago.
I do understand where you are coming from, there is no problem with your friend making a complaint about this, via her current employer. There is just little merit in bringing a claim. I do think that this is something best, ***** ***** long run, to put down to experience.
As you probably know an employer can dismiss for any reason in the first two years in any event so this is not an uncommon occurance, sadly.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Yes, it is very sad. Thank you again, have a good day.

Expert:  Jenny replied 2 years ago.
Thanks and you.

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