All You Need to Know About Defamation of Character

February 26, 2019

One of the most dreaded workplace issues is defamation of character. Spreading rumors, gossiping and spoiling the reputation of your employees will reflect on their emotional wellbeing, which is equal to bullying. It is important that you provide reference and evidence to the HR or manager about the complaint. That would not serve under defamation of character.

Hence what do we call defamation of character exactly?

According to the common law in Australia, which pertains to the law, these materials are classed as defamatory:-

  • Spreading hatred, contemplating or ridiculing them in front of everyone
  • Lowering the victim in front of the society members
  • Isolating the victim and causing them to be hated by everyone
  • Making derogatory comments based on class, gender, sexuality, and race

In such cases, the defamation of character lawsuit is applicable. The defamation claim has to be true in such cases.

What could be termed as the workplace Defamation of character?

In Australia, one of the most vital defamation protections is known as “Qualified privilege” which would allow free communication to flow through certain parties without any fear for a defamation action. This is the place where the person who is communicating the information to the third party is subjected to legal, social or moral duty by doing so. The third party would also receive it with consent. While this seems more like legal jargon, it is quite simple while practicing. For an instant, a manager would be contacted by another business person in order to provide a reference for a job applicant. The manager would state that the applicant was fired due to bullying. This information might seem obscure but the defamation action protects both the parties. It is the moral duty of the manager to let the potential employer know this information.

In the same way, when a person is complaining to a manager about a particular colleague while being harassed, the manager can reveal this piece of information to the staff members, not with the motive to gossip but to gather proof for the claim. The duty of the company is to take action on the guilty. Hence they can make sure that this defamation claim is true by gathering proof. This will let them make the right decision without involving unfair judgments. But if the manager or the complainant is going to reveal this piece of information with a pure motive to gossip, then it is possible to make a defamation claim. If the issue is more sensitive, then it is a must that you approach the defamation lawyers Perth.

How to avoid defamation in the workplace?

You need to pay attention to different factors. While a person is hearing about the other person, are they the right choice for sharing the information? For instance, the complaint has to be made to the manager, rather than being discussed with other employees, who might start spreading rumors. The second case is if the comments that are mentioned are true, and then the business should make sure that the actions are taken against the accused without any delay.

A business should check and make sure that there are proper policies for the employees to make complaints, which would pave way for proper communication. Then they have to inform the employees regarding the same, and then the employees will know whom to approach in case of any problems. If there is no proper authority to address the defamation cases, then it is likely that it would spread like a raging fire within the office premises, which might cause inconvenience for both the parties. The defamation of character lawyers will be able to guide you well.

The next thing you have to think of is that you are under the right legislation and law which would allow you to make the complaint. The claim might not be valid if it does not come under the law as a crime.
It is not that the defamatory claim has to be in the form of speech. It could be a text, symbol or even as a gesture.

Avoiding defamation in the workplace

It is the necessity of the business to ensure that there are proper rules and clear communication for confronting defamation issues. This will save the employees of unnecessary troubles and they would know whom to approach in such situations. The defamation claim has to be lawfully right. If not, it might not be proven right in court.

It is the basic right for everyone to protect their reputation. If there is any harm caused by your reputation through defamatory comments or via publications, then it is necessary that you contact the legal advice, which is very much essential for you to stay peaceful. Hence respect and stay respected.