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Legal employment question.

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redsturgeon
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Legal employment question.

#219765

Postby redsturgeon » May 6th, 2019, 1:26 pm

Any thoughts on this situation would be appreciated.

Person A is employed as a waitress in a restaurant. It is their last day at work they having handed in their notice two weeks before and one of the customers they serve is so impressed by them that they would like to interview them for job (not waitressing).

Person A then has to leave before the diner finishes but agrees to call them to arrange an interview. This is done and when they turn up for the interview they are told what happened after they had left the restaurant.

The diner had mentioned to person A's boss that they were impressed with them and would like to interview them for a job. A's boss then said that they should know that she had found person A having sex with her boyfriend in her bed. This was a total fabrication. Fortunately the diner did not believe the lie and offered the job.

Questions:

Is this a case of slander?

Do the company who employed the boss and person A have some responsibilities in this situation?

John

DrBunsenHoneydew
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Re: Legal employment question.

#219776

Postby DrBunsenHoneydew » May 6th, 2019, 2:47 pm

How unpleasant.

The claimant must prove in a case of slander that the effect of the defamation has actually been damaging to them. That doesn't seem to apply here as no actual damage has occurred.
(There is no such requirement in a case of libel).

PinkDalek
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Re: Legal employment question.

#219783

Postby PinkDalek » May 6th, 2019, 3:40 pm

Only commenting on your second question.

redsturgeon wrote:Do the company who employed the boss and person A have some responsibilities in this situation?


Vicarious liability?:

http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=3715

Many employers are unaware that they can be liable for a range of actions committed by their employees in the course of their employment - these can include bullying and harassment, violent or discriminatory acts or even libel and breach of copyright.

Noting they wrote libel there, as against defamation in general, and that dated 2012 before the amendments in the Defamation Act 2013 came into force (if relevant).

pochisoldi
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Re: Legal employment question.

#219788

Postby pochisoldi » May 6th, 2019, 4:32 pm

The correct line of attack is firstly through the company's internal disciplinary system and ultimately via employment law. The behaviour was harassment regardless whether it was in the first or the last minute of employment.

stewamax
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Re: Legal employment question.

#219933

Postby stewamax » May 7th, 2019, 10:41 am

The vicarious liability approach is interesting: see https://www.supremecourt.uk/cases/uksc-2014-0087.html - because the potentially defamatory statement about the waitress was made:
- on the business premises
- by a member of staff
- to a customer
- and related to the business (i.e. was about another member of staff), although this caveat is not strictly necessary

melonfool
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Re: Legal employment question.

#228016

Postby melonfool » June 8th, 2019, 4:07 pm

pochisoldi wrote:The correct line of attack is firstly through the company's internal disciplinary system and ultimately via employment law. The behaviour was harassment regardless whether it was in the first or the last minute of employment.


I don't understand this response. Person A has left and has no recourse to internal procedures now. They also never had recourse to the disciplinary policy, that is the remit of the company.

You might mean grievance policy, but again, no recourse post leaving.

I think it is a case of defamation and despite it causing no loss you can be sure this person would say the same again so I would most definitely be following up. I'd send a 'letter before action' saying that if they give written assurances it will never happen again then you will not take it further. It's probably not actually worth taking it further but the warning would hopefully be effective!

Mel


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