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Can Company lose qualified privilege in Defamation

Can Company lose qualified privilege in Defamation

Postby amatar » Thu May 19, 2016 9:27 pm

Company action against individual by HR manager and Managing Director

Can it be considered Defamation and would they lose Qualified Privilege if proved they were acting with malice if
a. with only those two (HR & MD) copied on emails - Is that sufficient for publication?
b. Statements were untrue
c. Malice because they wanted to find the employee "guilty"
d. Employee was harmed by being disciplined

Is this sufficient for defamation law to apply?
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Re: Can Company lose qualified privalege in Defamation

Postby Millbrook2 » Fri May 20, 2016 8:19 am

amatar wrote:Company action against individual by HR manager and Managing Director

Can it be considered Defamation and would they lose Qualified Privilege if proved they were acting with malice if
a. with only those two (HR & MD) copied on emails - Is that sufficient for publication?
b. Statements were untrue
c. Malice because they wanted to find the employee "guilty"
d. Employee was harmed by being disciplined

Is this sufficient for defamation law to apply?


The header reads that the company is taking action through the two manager so why would they need a defence to defamation.

Is the action being taken against you?
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Re: Can Company lose qualified privalege in Defamation

Postby atticus » Fri May 20, 2016 12:32 pm

Please note the correct spelling of "privilege".

If you believe that you have been subjected to a detriment through malice then you may bring an Employment Tribunal claim.

Forget any idea of defamation action. Two conspirators publishing defamatory statements about you to each other and no one else will achieve nothing for you except a large bill for their costs.
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Re: Can Company lose qualified privalege in Defamation

Postby amatar » Fri May 20, 2016 6:53 pm

Millbrook2 wrote:
amatar wrote:Company action against individual by HR manager and Managing Director

Can it be considered Defamation and would they lose Qualified Privilege if proved they were acting with malice if
a. with only those two (HR & MD) copied on emails - Is that sufficient for publication?
b. Statements were untrue
c. Malice because they wanted to find the employee "guilty"
d. Employee was harmed by being disciplined

Is this sufficient for defamation law to apply?


The header reads that the company is taking action through the two manager so why would they need a defence to defamation.

Is the action being taken against you?

Bad drafting ;)
Should have said - Company took disciplinary action against employee - using false statements and malice - and the employee is wondering if they can sue.
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Re: Can Company lose qualified privalege in Defamation

Postby amatar » Fri May 20, 2016 7:13 pm

atticus wrote:Please note the correct spelling of "privilege".

If you believe that you have been subjected to a detriment through malice then you may bring an Employment Tribunal claim.

Forget any idea of defamation action. Two conspirators publishing defamatory statements about you to each other and no one else will achieve nothing for you except a large bill for their costs.

Just sticking with the defamation for now:
Is there a point of law on the fact that they are or may be co-conspirators?

There would have been also a co-worker as a verbal witness to the false statements as part of the disciplinary action, and a further HR person on appeal - so qualified privilege (spelled right this time;) would apply unless it can be overturned by the malice.
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Re: Can Company lose qualified privalege in Defamation

Postby atticus » Fri May 20, 2016 8:46 pm

You missed the effect of my words "and no one else". I referred to these chaps making defamatory statements about you to each other and no-one else.

What is a verbal witness? For that matter, is there such a thing as a non-verbal witness?
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Re: Can Company lose qualified privalege in Defamation

Postby amatar » Fri May 20, 2016 9:29 pm

atticus wrote:You missed the effect of my words "and no one else". I referred to these chaps making defamatory statements about you to each other and no-one else.
But would that be problem to be dafamation? They are still MD and HR - the MD made the statement and copied HR. HR are assumed to be average citizens even if they may not be. They are not supposed to be a known den of thieves.


atticus wrote:What is a verbal witness? For that matter, is there such a thing as a non-verbal witness?

I mean they heard the comments but did not see the emails.
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Re: Can Company lose qualified privilege in Defamation

Postby dls » Fri May 20, 2016 10:27 pm

Yes, technically it can be defamation. However merely technical defamations have been severely sat upon for the last several years. Really severely.

Atti is right. If you have 50k to throw away then fine, throw it away. If not forget it unless you welcome bankruptcy with open arms.

If you have a real action, (the defamation action is not one), then pursue it, by all means.

It is difficult. You may well have been traduced, but the gravamen of your action lies in whatever employment action you might have, not in any defamation technicality.
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Re: Can Company lose qualified privilege in Defamation

Postby amatar » Sat May 21, 2016 9:50 am

Thanks guys, I appreciate your replies.

In this case I'm not necessarily going to actually sue - but wish to have an idea where the law stands, so to consider taking it by way of complaint to the parent company. (I am working just for the wholly owned subsidiary).

Edit to add - I don't think employment law is useful at this point as I'm still working for the company, with no demotion or change to terms and conditions. I could leave and go the constructive dismissal route but that has its own problems, so that is why I'm looking at where this stands on defamation, at least legally even if not practical.
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Re: Can Company lose qualified privilege in Defamation

Postby atticus » Sat May 21, 2016 3:26 pm

Bringing a defamation action may not enhance your career prospects in this company.
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