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Is this slander/defamination?

(13 Posts)
ICantThinkOfAUsernameH Thu 02-Feb-17 21:43:03

Sorry this may sound petty, don't want to drip feed so bare with me.

Started a job, within a few weeks I was let go and told to come back when DC were in secondary school , obviously I was gutted.

Fast forward a week and an employee has been telling people I was "sacked for bitching about everyone and acting a bitch"
This couldn't be further from the truth, they all spoke about eachother but I was careful not to participate.

I live in a small place so this has spread like wildfire, I'm a quiet person and have bad anxiety so haven't even left the house since this.

I've rang the workplace and told the manager about this, she was shocked and said as far as she was aware the reason I was let go was because I wasn't very flexible with shifts (had already discussed this in interview but fair enough).
She said to ring back and speak to the owner about it Friday as she's away but I know nothing will be done.

I don't like confrontation but this has really hurt me that people think I'm like that, it's so far from the truth.

TheCakes Thu 02-Feb-17 21:46:16

It's not nice, but it's not defamation. Defamation has to be in permanent form and likely to harm you or your business, or subject you to ridicule, or cause you to be shunned or avoided.
This fails on the first part.
It's nasty gossip.
Hope you find another job flowers

ICantThinkOfAUsernameH Thu 02-Feb-17 22:13:56

Ive had 8 people tell me this now regarding why I was sacked, I'm just worried as we live in such a small place that It'll get around potential employers (hardly any)

prh47bridge Thu 02-Feb-17 22:18:34

Defamation has to be in permanent form

No it does not. That is the difference between slander and libel. Libel is published in a permanent form, slander is not.

To prove slander you would have to show that this person was talking about you, that they made this statements to a third party (i.e. someone other than you) and that the statement is defamatory. A statement is defamatory if it will seriously harm your reputation.

I am not sure this statement meets the test of seriously harming your reputation. Even if it does, the employee involved may be able to use the defence of honest opinion, i.e. they were expressing an opinion and it is reasonable for them to hold that opinion.

Actions for defamation are expensive. You should take proper legal advice if you want to pursue this but I expect you would be told it is not worth it - that action is unlikely to succeed and, unless the employee concerned is very well off, may leave you significantly worse off financially.

Personally I think your best course of action is to leave this. As TheCakes says, this is nasty gossip. Some people are not very nice. I know it is difficult if you suffer from anxiety but you need to find a way to move on.

Astoria7974 Fri 03-Feb-17 18:49:21

Yes it is , and you do have legal recourse

ICantThinkOfAUsernameH Fri 03-Feb-17 19:27:42

I'm confused what to do now blush

prh47bridge Sat 04-Feb-17 13:04:59

It is entirely up to you. You can take action against the individual concerned. However, I think Astoria is overstating your position. Action for slander is not guaranteed to succeed. Even if you win you may end up substantially out of pocket. Get proper advice from a lawyer who specialises in defamation rather than random people on the Internet.

daisychain01 Sat 04-Feb-17 14:24:34

If you are only considering action due to hurt feelings, I would not bother.

Move on quickly, get another job and forget about it. Forget about what other people think about you, they don't matter.

The people who really matter to you know who the real UsernameH is smile

TheCakes Sat 04-Feb-17 15:51:11

Ah yes, I was getting my libel and slander mixed up. I need to know about libel in my line of work, but not slander, and it's about 15 years since I did my exams, so I'd forgotten the bits I don't use!

ICantThinkOfAUsernameH Sat 04-Feb-17 17:58:55

I wanted opinions before forking out money that's why I asked strangers on the Internet.
Thank you for the replies

daisychain01 Sat 04-Feb-17 18:28:49

So ideally, what would you like the outcome to be? It isn't clear exactly what you hope to get from a court action. It could be expensive for not much real gain....

Ignore the comment about random strangers, I'm fine being a random weirdo sitting here giving advice, doesn't bother me smile

prh47bridge Sat 04-Feb-17 19:11:28

Being a random stranger offering advice doesn't bother me either but you need to be aware that the quality of advice you get on here will be somewhat variable. Some posters will know what they are talking about but others won't.

You may find a lawyer who is willing to give you an initial half hour consultation for free. However, just to set out my view clearly:

- I am not sure you would be able to prove that this statement seriously harmed your reputation. The people you worked with would know it is not true. The people who didn't know you at that employer may believe it but, as they don't know you, it isn't clear that it is seriously harming your reputation. You may have a better case if the employee has made this statement to other people who know you.

- Depending on exactly what was said the employee may be able to claim that he/she was expressing an honest opinion. If the court agrees you would lose your case.

- Even if you win, damages are likely to be small.

- There is no legal aid available for defamation cases so you would have to fund the case yourself. Some household insurance policies include legal cover so it is worth checking those out but most will not cover slander or libel cases.

- If you win you will normally be able to claim your legal expenses from the employee. However, that won't help if the employee cannot afford to pay. You may end up substantially out of pocket.

Personally I would ignore it. If you really want to do something you could get a solicitor to write to this person demanding that they stop and threatening legal action if they don't. But I would not recommend trying to take this to court.

ICantThinkOfAUsernameH Sat 04-Feb-17 22:35:26

Thank you both for your advice, I wrote this post whilst angry & upset, I will leave it but may try getting a letter wrote as suggested if it affects me getting a job around here.
Thank you

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