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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
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I went sick with depression because of matters at work. My

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I went sick with depression because of matters at work. My doctor signed me off for a couple of weeks. After the fourth day, I received a call from a friend at work who said that someone had told him that I had "Gone wibble" which is a term that's used for someone who has had a breakdown. Since my doctor has maintained Medical in Confidence, I'm concerned that rumours are circulating that I am mentally ill, which clearly is speculation. Can you please let me know where I stand legally as I'm quite distressed by this. Thankyou
Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. What would you like to achieve in this situation?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

OK Ben, my concern is that someone high up has said this to the individual that told my friend. As there has been no confidentiality breached by my doctor it is speculation. In my business this is extremely unprofessional. I feel this comment has undermined me and my position in the organisation. Can I get compensation or would you deem this as nothing more than an apology? Is it deformation etc?

How long have you worked there for?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

23 years


Do not get concerned with defamation because not only is this extremely complex but also very expensive, easily a five-figure sum to pursue a claim with no guarantee of success.

The issue you will face otherwise is that this is just speculation at first, there is no proof or evidence that what you are claiming has actually happened. There is circumstantial evidence that may suggest this is what happened but far from anything concrete.

As this is gossip and a rumour, there are many ways in which it may have started and would not have necessarily commenced from a breach of confidentiality from the top. I am just playing devil’s advocate here but I have seen rumours start just from someone taking a guess as to why you are off and the rumour mill can then go into overdrive and before you know it is like a game of Chinese whispers.

So you are unfortunately far off getting any compensation for this – there is no specific claim you can make, you will not get compensation for stress or inconvenience and must show actual losses have been suffered, which I cannot see here. Also you have to prove there was a breach of confidentiality or trust which would be difficult without any evidence.

This is therefore best dealt with internally, for example through raising a grievance with the employer, as that will prompt them to investigate and it could eventually trace the original of this information release. It will not get you any compensation but it can result in those that are guilty in the circumstances to be dealt with by the employer, for example through the disciplinary process.

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 and feel free to bookmark my profile for future help:
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks - I do believe that they should receive disciplinary action and I will take it up with my doctor as I am in the armed forces. I think it would be best for him to take the matter up with my Chain of Command. What do you think?

That could indeed be a sensible option although I cannot comment on how successful it would be as it would really depend on the individuals involved and how they believe this should proceed. But if you have no luck with them, then any formal complaints process is always an option you can follow.