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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
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Hiya, I am a contractor company as an IT Manager for

Resolved Question:

Hiya,
I am a contractor for a company as an IT Manager for a care company. There has been an incident where one of the carers came into the HR office to report that I had spoken to them and raised my voice un-necessary. However the HR manager has a personal vendetta against me and coerced this carer into writing a long statement against me.
He then called in and convinced 2 other carers to come in and write statements for things such as 'sending a poke on social media' and 'sending me jokes on SMS'.
Obviously the owner of the company has taken these seriously and are being pressured by this HR manager to take action against me.
I have stated to the owners these allegations are false and are defamatory statements which adversely affects my reputation. They amount to defamation of Character.
Could I have some basic advice on what I should do...and also what I can advise the owners?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. How long have you been working there for?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Ben,

I have been contracting for this company for about 3 years

Cheers,

Shaun

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Your rights will be somewhat limited due to your status as a contractor rather than an employee. Most importantly you do not have protection against unfair dismissal. This means the employer can easily terminate your employment for any reason and without following a fair procedure as long as they issue you with the notice you are due under contract. There are no requirements to prove that any allegations are true and it can happen based on rumours, untrue evidence etc. It does not mean the employer will necessarily go down that route but bear in mind they can.
In terms of the allegations, 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.
If needed you can also make a counter complaint against the people that complained about you and ask the employer to investigate the malicious actions.
I hope this has answered your query. Please take a second to leave a positive rating, or if you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you
Ben Jones and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Hello, I see you have accessed and read my answer to your query. 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? I just need to know whether you need further help or if I can close the question? Thank you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thanks Ben,

Apologies for not responding this advice was good and will no doubt help me in this issue.

Cheers,

Shaun