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Buachaill, Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10949
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
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In a reference a Social Work manager said : he attended a meeting

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In a reference a Social Work manager said : he attended a meeting where he made a racist remark, details were not given and there was no investigation.

My understanding is as follows: A head teacher said that client x was from a 'Travelling Family' , I asked what she meant by this she said :'You know they are travellers.' I had already researched so called 'Travelling Family' values as several L A have produced research. In the context of getting more accurate information I asked if it was her view that the family were anti authority or against their child attending school or believe in arranged marriages for girls aged 14. She said no the family do cooperate, but later added that the LA is to prosecute the family mother as 2 of the children are not attending school she later complained that what I had said was racist.

No complaint was investigated

The statement of reference which I had not requested or agreed to was sent to my agency and then to me without permission

The manager involved did so without checking details or talking to me

The mother of the client had given me permission to talk to the school about all issues.

All the research is on line and stems from difficulties Local Authorities have had when attempting to understand and assist 'Traveling families'

There may be confidentiality and Data protection issues as well.

I would like to take action through the court about this and to make a complaint against the specific manager to the relevant registration authority

Buachaill :

1. ONce a statement in a work reference is false, then it is defamatory if it tends to lower the person in the esteem of right thinking people. Saying someone is racist is defamatory in its ordinary meaning if it is false. So you have a cause of action for defamation, which you have a year within which to bring against the Social Work manager personally. The issue of confidentiality need not arise, once you can prove the content of the reference. Nor do Data Protection issues arise as you can prove the reference content without making reference to the actual family involved. It is sufficient for evidentiary purposes that you had the permission of the family to talk to the school about all issues. Secondly, you can also make a complaint about this Social Work manager to whatever Local Authority employ her. However, be aware that this is a much less powerful remedy than legal proceedings against the person themselves.

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