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ScottyMacEsq
ScottyMacEsq, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 11933
Experience:  Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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I have a person under employment in the same building who has

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I have a person under employment in the same building who has registered official complaints against my behavior. An investigation is being done and we have been asked to not share any information with colleagues or subordinates. However, the person is sharing with others in all departments the details of the complaint including former employees.
These employees are now coming to me and advising me to "be careful"
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  ScottyMacEsq replied 11 months ago.

ScottyMacEsq :

Thank you for using JustAnswer. I am researching your issue and will respond shortly.

ScottyMacEsq :

I'm sorry to hear about your situation. Did you have a question relating to this issue?

Customer:

Should I alert the investigating attorney as to this breach, it appears to be a violation and I do not want what I consider to be slander to continue or without a note on the file and can I request that this incident not be placed without note in my official employment file?

ScottyMacEsq :

You mention that they "asked" you not to share any information. Did you both sign a document indicating that you would not share any information, or was it an actual order not to share any information?

ScottyMacEsq :

...or was it merely a nonbinding request not to share?

Customer:

simple request, nothing signed...more of a recommendation against any type of retaliation

ScottyMacEsq :

I see. You can certainly alert the attorney as to this situation. It doesn't sound like a breach, because if it's a non-binding request, there's nothing that says that this other person can't talk to colleagues or coworkers. Even so, the content might be of a sensitive nature that the attorneys would like to know, so that they could force this employee to cease communications about the incident. That is, even though it was a request, it could be that it was issued with the intent that it be complied with.

ScottyMacEsq :

Sorry about that delay, my browser froze and I had to restart it.

ScottyMacEsq :

If I were you, I would certainly notify HR about this individual's actions in not complying with the request.

ScottyMacEsq :

Again, it doesn't necessarily sound like a breach now, mainly because there was nothing ordering or mandating that this individual keep quiet.

ScottyMacEsq :

As for requesting that this incident be noted, you can certainly do that. A request is simply that: a request. Now that doesn't mean that you have a right to have it placed in your file. An employees file is an unofficial file, in that there's no governmental control over what has to go in it.

ScottyMacEsq :

So you can't "force" something into the file. You can certainly request that something be noted.

ScottyMacEsq :

Does that clear things up? Or did you have additional questions?

Customer:

I know that I can alert the attorney, my question is better put as, "should I alert the attorney and what would it potentially benefit and or hurt me"?

Customer:

Sorry, I missed th ebottom of your last comment when your server froze and now I read it

ScottyMacEsq :

I don't see how it would hurt you... The allegations are already known to the attorney (and it seems to an increasing number of coworkers). If the company (and attorney) are placed on notice that this is going on, and do nothing to stop it, it's possible that there could be liability on the company for failing to curtail that behavior.

Customer:

So would it be best to contact the attorney or bring it up to my superior? There is no HR department

Customer:

or Both?

ScottyMacEsq :

Personally I would do both.

Customer:

holding both accountable, that is what I thought.

ScottyMacEsq :

Yes.

Customer:

At what point does the spreading of information among other employees become slander?

ScottyMacEsq :

It could be slander the first time it happens. Slander is a false statement of material fact that harms another.

Customer:

undermining my authority and name and reputation

ScottyMacEsq :

Note that it has to be a false statement, and has to be one of material fact. Truth is not slander, no matter how damaging to a reputation. It also has to be a statement of material fact. Opinion is not actionable.

ScottyMacEsq :

Finally, for slander, you would need to show actual damages relating to the slander.

ScottyMacEsq :

That means that you can prove, to a reasonable degree of certainty, the amount of money that you have "lost" as a result of that slander. To be honest, that is the most difficult part to prove in a slander case, because even if all the other elements have been proven, failure to prove the dollar amount of damages will still result in the case being lost.

Customer:

I am not looking for restitution, only for the matter to be closed....the matter of truth is debatable because the issue is impression based with no witnesses although there were teams of persons in the area at the time

ScottyMacEsq :

I understand. And you could certainly threaten a slander action. But to be able to win such a case would need the elements above proved.

Customer:

i would prefer not to threaten, as this work place is one that I enjoy...what I would like to prevent is the continuation of the spread of the claim and the inevitable damage it does to my leadership. Perhaps threatening a suit would illicit a speedy and effective response from the corporate lawyer or employer though and something that needs to be gauged. Truthfully, the issue should be dropped, but now needs to be explained to the rest of the staff...how is it possible to make that recommendation?

ScottyMacEsq :

I would say informally, at least initially. That is, talking with the attorney / supervisor in this situation would be the best way to approach it. If you don't get any satisfaction through that, a demand letter might be the way to go. Note that this gets more risky the more demanding you get.

Customer:

On all levels, correct...and something best avoided under the circumstances of my affection for the position and job environment aside from this ugliness. Do I have any other legal verbiage that would benefit my statement? Is there a concise one sentence way to summarize my statements to the employer and attorney?

ScottyMacEsq :

To be honest, I would try to avoid legal verbiage at this point. You want to appear tough and willing to take this to the next level, if need be, but not that you're actively considering it. Once you start using legal wording, they often see it as hostile and they will get defensive. If you maintain the position that you are all on the same "side" they'll be more willing to work with you to keep you there.

Customer:

Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX my session. You have done an excellent job juxtaposing the personal and professional concerns.

ScottyMacEsq :

My pleasure.If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable. Please note that I don't get any credit for my answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better). Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX good luck to you!

ScottyMacEsq :

Was there anything else before you rated this question? (please note that the question remains open until you rate it, which prevents me from assisting other customers that are waiting)

ScottyMacEsq :

Are you there? Please note that I am still here, awaiting your response or rating....

ScottyMacEsq, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 11933
Experience: Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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