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jackpot06

Defamation Of Character Suit Against Me -Help

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Any lawyers out there ? I was working in a language school in Bournemouth off and on for the last 2 years ...2 weeks here, 1 week there etc and then 3 months in the summer, most summers.

A much older man has been taking way too much interest in me, in the squashed up staffroom. Arm squeezing ,shoulder squeezing always tapping /touching me.

I should have said something sooner but I left it and left it .Finally I aired my disquiet over it with my immediate manager, who was gushing all over me ...'here for you' 'what can I do ' etc etc. Normally this woman was quite unpleasant but turned very friendly in the aftermath of this matter. She wanted me to speak to the guy in private and ask him to stop. I wanted to quietly ask him to stop when he next did it in public. She won and I did as she requested. It turned immediately nasty with him saying 'what the h$ll was I accusing him of ' etc etc. Within 10 days of bringing it all up I found myself sacked. I lauched a claim for unfair dismissal . Now I am fighting solicitors acting for this man on the grounds that I have defamed his character with these accusations. All I did was record how I felt to my immediate manager and copy the owner of the language school .They are saying that I have defamed him to a 3rd party ..Help ....please...

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Not a lawyer (but have sacked a lot of people over the years)

I think on unfair dismissal you should win at tribunal - assuming the facts as presented - it would look like unfair dismissal purely on procedural basis if you have been there more than 2 years even without a contract it's verging on implied.

Don't panic about solicitor's letters - doesn't cost too much to send a few but, taking things all the way is an entirely different more costly affair.

I would guess it's an attempted shot across the bows to try intimidate you into withdrawing the tribunal claim which would subject this guy to public scrutiny - most normal blokes would just be profusely apologetic over something like this. (I'm assuming the defamation claim letters started arriving after the unfair dismissal claim was launched).

It might be worth contacting the relevant union - even if you're not in it at the moment.

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They are just trying to make their defence sound more scary.

Concentrate on gathering evidence to support your version of events.

By definition, the truth cannot be defamatory.

Good luck.

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Call the CAB and speak to an actual person for advice.

On what specific grounds did they sack you? There lies the biggest answer to whether you have some recourse.

Copying the owner of the language school may have been a bad idea?

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It all depends on what you said, word for word.

Make sure you have an accurate record, as contemporaneous as possible, and with corroboration.

If you did go over the top, one mitigating factor is that you said it only to people who had a duty to listen.

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So grateful to you lot --as ever such practical and rational advice.The circumstances of dismissal were a little unfortunate. After I made the complaint the atmosphere changed in the staffroom. I started to get ignored and sidelined. My immediate boss was away a lot over the following few days with their own issues over staff and rumours of grievances of their own. When 'they' arrived back in work the boss was taking it out on everyone. Especially me and picking on me for the slightest thing. Notably that I had suggested a couple of students acquire dictionaries to help them with vocabulary. The boss then started up on me a few moments before a class was to begin and what with the 'guy' hanging around and lapping up my upset. I became tearful and wasn't up to teaching that class. I removed myself from the situation and was sacked 45 mins later.

Is there a union that handles TEFL teachers ? I've never found one? Truly thanks for such wise input.( And yes the threat of defamation arrrived after I launched the unfair dismissal ). Guy who hit on me is quite a loner with a track record ( which I can't prove,only hearsay of having a 'certain ' reputation) .

I think I've tridden on a Hornet's nest and yes as someone said any reasonable guy/ or 'Gentleman ' would have profusely apologised and the matter would have been over.

I've also heard that the language school had been trying to lose him for over 2 years but he's got a cast iron contract.

Messy for me. As mine was a leaky part timeish one.

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One other thing - figure out how the guy claiming against you found out what you said to your boss.

Could reveal some motives that might help you in the UD claim.

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Not a lawyer (but have sacked a lot of people over the years)

I think on unfair dismissal you should win at tribunal - assuming the facts as presented - it would look like unfair dismissal purely on procedural basis if you have been there more than 2 years even without a contract it's verging on implied.

Don't panic about solicitor's letters - doesn't cost too much to send a few but, taking things all the way is an entirely different more costly affair.

I would guess it's an attempted shot across the bows to try intimidate you into withdrawing the tribunal claim which would subject this guy to public scrutiny - most normal blokes would just be profusely apologetic over something like this. (I'm assuming the defamation claim letters started arriving after the unfair dismissal claim was launched).

It might be worth contacting the relevant union - even if you're not in it at the moment.

Pretty much agree with the above.

With the Tribunal stick to the facts and dont get emotive. If you have a discrimination angle use it as the compo is much higher and may bring the employer to the negotiating table sooner. However burden of proof is higher for the claimant than in standard Unfair dismissal

As far as slander / libel goes the other party would have to prove malicous intend on your part.

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Not a lawyer - but where in 'She wanted me to speak to the guy in private and ask him to stop. I wanted to quietly ask him to stop when he next did it in public. She won and I did as she requested. It turned immediately nasty with him saying 'what the h$ll was I accusing him of ' etc etc. Within 10 days of bringing it all up I found myself sacked.'

Did a 3rd party get informed, or is he calling your boss a 3rd party? IMO Talking to your own manager is following normal lines of command, not a 3rd party. (edit - owner of school - not sure, depends how big it is. If you're in contact with owner, have reported / been managed by him directly before, sure theres room for maneuver).

As far as defamation goes, i gather you had a discussion with your boss (not a formal complaint). Can you clarify "She wanted me to speak to the guy in private and ask him to stop. I wanted to quietly ask him to stop when he next did it in public. She won"? You're saying she wanted you to speak to the guy, so did you, and yet she won? Do you mean you wanted *her* to speak to him?

Wikipedia:

"Defamation: is the communication of a statement that makes a claim, expressly stated or implied to be factual, that may give an individual <snip> a negative image. It is usually a requirement that this claim be false and that the publication is communicated to someone other than the person defamed ".

So: is he denying that the events you described took place (Arm squeezing ,shoulder squeezing always tapping /touching me), or that there was no intention to them apart from friendlyness? Seems to me that you've got 2 lines of argument - both that the events happened, and that there was no inappropriate disclosure. If he's saying that the events happened but that you got the wrong impression, then that's not defamation/slander, that's an argument to me ;p

Sounds like the one thing likely to cause trouble is that you tried not to make waves - if you didn't insist boss record the first meeting you had, then it might be a bit hard proving things if they decide to close ranks.

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Did a 3rd party get informed, or is he calling your boss a 3rd party? IMO Talking to your own manager is following normal lines of command, not a 3rd party. (edit - owner of school - not sure, depends how big it is. If you're in contact with owner, have reported / been managed by him directly before, sure theres room for maneuver).
He/she copied the owner of the school, as well as the manager. This is possibly what's fired up the situation, and is pretty crucial I think.

Copying the owner of the school and their grounds for dismissal are super important.

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Like the others I am not a lawyer but...

Employers have a duty of care of people working for them under law.

If you were put into a dangerous situation because of your employer you may possibly have a case against them as much as against this chap. If it turns out that he has done this kind of thing before, and it is known to your former employer, then it would not be good for the organisation or the people in the organisation who knew about this.

With regards to the solicitors letters - give them to your solicitor.

As others have said, it does not cost much to send out threatening solicitor letters which, more often than not, are designed to scare you. If you decide to go further with this you may find one of two things:

1. You will get an awful lot more threatening letters accusing you of all manner of things. Prepare for your reputation to be called into question and to be accused of all manner of things.

2. They back down.

The best advice I can give you is not to worry, although that can be very difficult not to do, and go out and find a good solicitor. Ask friends, former colleagues, anyone you trust for the name of a good solicitor in this field and go have a good, frank talk.

I am sorry about what has happened to you. It must be very stressful and worrying. Remember, if you are going through hell, keep going :)

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I temporarily stayed as a lodger in a house about fifteen years ago in a part of the country I was unfamiliar with. There was another young male lodger who seemed unusually sociable and the landlady - in her late thirties - turned out to be a flirty alcoholic narcissist. I had only been there a couple of days and began to notice some slightly disturbing signs.

At the time I was trying to work as much overtime to pay for my wedding ceremony (my wife to be was in Indonesia at the time).

For some reason the land lady tried very hard to rope me and the other bloke into her social scene by having a pub meal one night. I was apprehensive as I didn't want to get that involved - I had my own private affairs to be dealing with plus I really did need to work long hours. Nonetheless I went and she insisted on paying.

Days later she was wandering about the house in nothing but a bikini! OK it was the height of summer but, to be wandering around the house in that state of undress with two young blokes in the house? It left me feeling distinctly uncomfortable. Her behaviour left you in no doubt she 'wanted a good seeing to' and I just wasn't interested.

Don't get me wrong, she wasn't unattractive, and most blokes would have jumped at the chance, but I felt there was something not right about her, something in the head.

Anyway a couple of days later I was making some tea and toast in the kitchen about 9pm (I think it was a Tuesday) when she started making hostile comments towards me claiming I had scatched a table with my laptop and complaining that I didn't get involved socially. She then said she had friends who could have me "done over".

I immediately left the house taking my phone and wallet, found a call box and rang the police. Many important belongings of mine were in that house. On police advice I went back to the property, stayed the night, left for work very early the next morning, then when I left work that night I had a police escort to the house, where the policeman allowed me to clear my belongings while he gave her a good dressing down (not the sort she was hoping for)

Several days later I sought legal advice about getting a refund on the remaining months rent. (i was desparate for the cash at the time). On advice I wrote her a letter about the refund and about a week later I got a rather threatening letter from her lawyer saying that she was going to counterclaim (I think the counterclaim was for the table that I hadn't damaged). I felt it was better to cut my losses than get entangled with someone who found it so easy to rattle off such false and malicious allegations.

Anyway the point of all this is that those who know they are bang to rights guilty of offence behaviour often project the guilt on to their victims. If committing such an offence isn't adequate proof of child-like immaturity, blaming the victim is.

Just to let you know that a couple of years later I went back to the pub and recanted my experience to the pub landlord. His reply was "Oh yeah, that's Mad Gina. She's known for it."

Note to the OP: if you know you are innocent stick to your guns. Dont let the fact this guy has got a lawyer to send you a nasty letter upset you. For your alledged assailant to try to get his retaliation in so forcefully at such an early stage is a sign of mens rea (a guilty mind) on his part. It is also suggestive of a macho ego throwing its weight around to get its way, the way it always has since childhood.

He is trying to bully you into silence petrified you are going to take it further. If you are sure of your case make a complant to the police, that should sober him up.

The fact that the complaint you made confidentially has leaked is a sign procedures have not been followed correctly and your person has been placed in some jeopardy.

Perhaps they're masons, perhaps they're a ring of sexual perverts, In which case its all the more important you act.

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Once again,thanks to all for such clear help and advice.

The chain of command was -1) My immediate boss = The Director of Studies

2) -'Their boss' (I'm not putting the gender, to be extra sure of anonymity) = this person is the owner of the school and 'hands on' manager, who plays a huge part in the day to day running and managing of the school and makes all ultimate decisions -it was the owner who gave the nod to have me sacked and this is acknowledged in an email . So, my comments to the owner were as someone who was directly involved in the whole process and not a sleeping partner so to speak.

The place is run through excessive control and subtle manipulation of it's staff - number 1 and number 2 see that this style is implemented.

I should have left long before this happened to me-but it's easy to be wise after the event.

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Not a lawyer - but where in 'She wanted me to speak to the guy in private and ask him to stop. I wanted to quietly ask him to stop when he next did it in public. She won and I did as she requested. It turned immediately nasty with him saying 'what the h$ll was I accusing him of ' etc etc. Within 10 days of bringing it all up I found myself sacked.'

Did a 3rd party get informed, or is he calling your boss a 3rd party? IMO Talking to your own manager is following normal lines of command, not a 3rd party. (edit - owner of school - not sure, depends how big it is. If you're in contact with owner, have reported / been managed by him directly before, sure theres room for maneuver).

As far as defamation goes, i gather you had a discussion with your boss (not a formal complaint). Can you clarify "She wanted me to speak to the guy in private and ask him to stop. I wanted to quietly ask him to stop when he next did it in public. She won"? You're saying she wanted you to speak to the guy, so did you, and yet she won? Do you mean you wanted *her* to speak to him?

Wikipedia:

"Defamation: is the communication of a statement that makes a claim, expressly stated or implied to be factual, that may give an individual <snip> a negative image. It is usually a requirement that this claim be false and that the publication is communicated to someone other than the person defamed ".

So: is he denying that the events you described took place (Arm squeezing ,shoulder squeezing always tapping /touching me), or that there was no intention to them apart from friendlyness? Seems to me that you've got 2 lines of argument - both that the events happened, and that there was no inappropriate disclosure. If he's saying that the events happened but that you got the wrong impression, then that's not defamation/slander, that's an argument to me ;p

Sounds like the one thing likely to cause trouble is that you tried not to make waves - if you didn't insist boss record the first meeting you had, then it might be a bit hard proving things if they decide to close ranks.

There were 2 bosses above me -1 =The Director of Studies who I made the initail complaint to and it was the DOS who wanted me to speak to the guy in private which went directly against my wish which was to deal with the matter in the public space.The second boss was the owner -who takes all final decisons. And was the next up in the line of communication. All I was doing was keeping it within the communication lines as I knew them to exist.Yes, the no 2 boss/pwner is denying that the evnts toook place and I can no longer prove them becasue I was asked by no 1 boss to deal with the matter privately. Had I of dealt with the matter publicly, assertively and neutrally events could not have been denied as they now are.

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Defamation cases are hugely expensive and very difficult to win. I doubt that the guy has either the resources or the inclination to pursue one.

It all seems quite simple to me. When you have such problems with staff you sack someone to make it all go away. The guy may have been in the wrong, yet you did not handle it yourself and instead turned it into a management problem. This shows that you are inadequate as most women have little difficulty brushing of unwanted male attention.

Most of these sort of work issues are not work issues, they are personality issues. Some people don't take no shit from anyone. If some other employee was giving me a hard time, I would rip right back at them. Not that it happens much since they see confidence and don't start no shit in the first place.

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Defamation cases are hugely expensive and very difficult to win. I doubt that the guy has either the resources or the inclination to pursue one.

It all seems quite simple to me. When you have such problems with staff you sack someone to make it all go away. The guy may have been in the wrong, yet you did not handle it yourself and instead turned it into a management problem. This shows that you are inadequate as most women have little difficulty brushing of unwanted male attention.Most of these sort of work issues are not work issues, they are personality issues. Some people don't take no shit from anyone. If some other employee was giving me a hard time, I would rip right back at them. Not that it happens much since they see confidence and don't start no shit in the first place.

No, thod, this shows just how inadequate you are.

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Any lawyers out there ? I was working in a language school in Bournemouth off and on for the last 2 years ...2 weeks here, 1 week there etc and then 3 months in the summer, most summers.

A much older man has been taking way too much interest in me, in the squashed up staffroom. Arm squeezing ,shoulder squeezing always tapping /touching me.

I should have said something sooner but I left it and left it .Finally I aired my disquiet over it with my immediate manager, who was gushing all over me ...'here for you' 'what can I do ' etc etc. Normally this woman was quite unpleasant but turned very friendly in the aftermath of this matter. She wanted me to speak to the guy in private and ask him to stop. I wanted to quietly ask him to stop when he next did it in public. She won and I did as she requested. It turned immediately nasty with him saying 'what the h$ll was I accusing him of ' etc etc. Within 10 days of bringing it all up I found myself sacked. I lauched a claim for unfair dismissal . Now I am fighting solicitors acting for this man on the grounds that I have defamed his character with these accusations. All I did was record how I felt to my immediate manager and copy the owner of the language school .They are saying that I have defamed him to a 3rd party ..Help ....please...

A classic Offensive defense.In a way it's quite a good sign because it shows they are rattled when they do this.I sued a builder for nuisance last year claiming about £1500 damages.He came back with a £7k counterclaim,entirely hot air.In court his counterclaim was dismissed at the outset and made his whole case look tainted.

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No, thod, this shows just how inadequate you are.

Case proven. You didn't like the message thus you resort to attacking the man rather than the message. You didn't even that very well making a simple assertion.

Workers are not there to give managers problems. Workers are there to solve managers problems, that is the only reason they are there. I am reminded of "The Apprentice" show. The noobs keep blaming each other. He simply turns around and tell them to shut it. If they can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. Winners bring solutions to him, not problems. Work is not a social club, it is not there to implement social policy. If two of them can't get on, they better sort it out or they will both be out.

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Workers are not there to give managers problems. Workers are there to solve managers problems, that is the only reason they are there. I am reminded of "The Apprentice" show. The noobs keep blaming each other. He simply turns around and tell them to shut it. If they can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. Winners bring solutions to him, not problems. Work is not a social club, it is not there to implement social policy. If two of them can't get on, they better sort it out or they will both be out.

By that logic the OP would have been quite justified in clobbering his unwanted admirer over the head with a 14lb sledgehammer. That would have solved the manager's (note the possessive apostrophe, by the way) problem, in terms of the personality clash between his employees, at least.

Thankfully, that is not the way employment law works in this country, which, incidentally, is not determined by silly TV shows fronted by egotistical failed entrepeneurs who are still trying to flog products from the 1980s. Such programmes make good entertainment, as do documentaries about Stalin. Managers are there to facilitate and support the employees they are responsible for in carrying out a given business activity successfully and efficiently, and to make problems go away that prevent or impede them from doing so. That task that can legitimately include intervening in disputes between the staff they manage, and I think you'll usually find that those who take the dogmatic view that any such dispute is invariably a case of six of one and half a dozen of the other do not preside over efficient and successful operations. You will also find that in the least efficient, least productive and most heavily unionised workplaces, a big part of the reason is the management approach you advocate. You're right - work is not a social club, but workplaces have to obey the law, and that includes implementing some aspects of social policy.

And in relation to social policy, I can't help but wonder whether the outcome of this incident would have been very different if it had involved a female employee accusing a male colleague of unwanted, heterosexual attention.

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Case proven. You didn't like the message thus you resort to attacking the man rather than the message. You didn't even that very well making a simple assertion.

Workers are not there to give managers problems. Workers are there to solve managers problems, that is the only reason they are there. I am reminded of "The Apprentice" show. The noobs keep blaming each other. He simply turns around and tell them to shut it. If they can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. Winners bring solutions to him, not problems. Work is not a social club, it is not there to implement social policy. If two of them can't get on, they better sort it out or they will both be out.

People in a work environment have every right to be left alone to do their work, free of harassment, free of bullying, free of any impediment.

No ifs, no buts, no nonsense.

employment law ... is not determined by silly TV shows fronted by egotistical failed entrepeneurs who are still trying to flog products from the 1980s.

:lol:

+1

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People in a work environment have every right to be left alone to do their work

Its not their work. They own nothing. They are there only so long as their boss wants them there and they are there to do whatever he tells them to do.

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Its not their work. They own nothing. They are there only so long as their boss wants them there and they are there to do whatever he tells them to do.

'Whatever'? If your boss told you to jump under a train, would you do so unquestioningly?

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