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TexLaw, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
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Experience:  Contracts, Wrongful termination and discrimination
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Hello. I work for a company that supplies trucks to a body

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Hello. I work for a company that supplies trucks to a body upfitter. The body upfitter representative that I deal with has always been billigerent to me and I have put up with it for 10 years and I finally had enough. We had a disagreement about a truck and he threatened me to never buy another truck from my company again and that i am "lucky" that he would even talk to our company anymore. I had enough of this guy and I let him have it, over the phone, of course. I said "oh yeah" maybe we should settle this man to man on your lawn, outside of work". It has escalated because the next day he called the owner of our company and complained to him that he was "scared" of me and that he feels threatened. He also proceeded to say that he was going to warn another company that both of us work closely with, of me. This is where the hair stood up on the back of my neck. This man is not only a weasel but he now trying to sabatoge my livliehood by warning a company that had nothing to do with our argument. Today my owner received a call from the HR director of this companies home office threatening to sue my company for my comments and that they all feel threatened. I am like... " you have got to be kidding me!!" I played football and we said "I am going to kick your ass" every other play and it actually happened and there was bodily harm done. I say that we should settle this like men on the lawn and I am going to get sued?! This seems totally ridiculous to me! Especially since, what he "did" has a much more malicious effect than what I "said" to him. I need some advice, Please. Thanks.

Thanks for your question.

Let me first start by saying that as a lawyer, I'm confronted daily with people who do infuriatingly wrong things and I am constantly tempted to tell them that I'd like to "meet them outside." So, I understand where you are coming from.

The reason I don't do this, and the reason you should never say anything like this again, is because a threat of physical violence qualifies as an assault under the law. An assault takes place if one person makes a verbal threat of violence to another person, and that person has a reasonable apprehension that the violence threatened will actually take place.

Now, you said "maybe we should settle this man to man on your lawn, outside of work" and this is actually a very vague statement. For all we know, you could be talking about a friendly game of horseshoes. There is no specific threat of violence here. If you had said "I'm going to kill you" or "if I see you I'm going to smash your face" or something similar, this might be a better example of an assault. So if a claim were actually made against you, you have an argument that there was no reasonable apprehension of physical harm because you did not make a specific threat of physical harm. Thus, no assault took place.

In regard to the actions they are taking by "warning" a third party about you, this could constitute tortious interference with an existing business arrangement and defamation of character. Your company should send a Cease and Desist letter to the the other company that warns against making any statements to any third party with which you are doing business that is negative about the company. You personally have a right to claim defamation of character against this fellow in that he has likely spread false information about you hurting your reputation to third parties (including his own HR department).

My advice is to tell your boss what I've told you and you should hire a lawyer to send an official Cease and Desist letter to the other company, suggesting that further communication should be avoided and that both businesses should walk away before the situation gets out of control and you are forced to go to court.

Please let me know if you have any further questions. Please also kindly consider rating my answer positively so that I am compensated by the website for my work on your question. Rating positively does not cause an additional charge and does not prevent us from further discussing your questions.

Best Regards,
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your response. It sounds reasonable to me. However, if I know how this person is and how he is playing this "victim" role to the maximum, I could see him lying that i said something that I didn't. This person is a weasel and not a man because, if someone said what I said to him, my response would be come on over and I would even give you the first punch". You would especially know this if you ever had to deal with the guy because he talks to people as if he is 300lbs and full of muscle because he is always demanding everything instead of asking. Anyway, I could see this turning into a "he said" "she said" and he would conjure up anything to make him look like the victim because it was a conversation that was over the phone and their would be no witnessess. The only witness situation is that our owner could witness that he said that he would "warn the other company" of me. Your thoughts?

If the guy is a weasel then youare correct to think he would most likely fabricate lies about you in order to make you look bad. He's not going to be a man about it, so it's best to simply avoid further contact so as not to give him any ammunition with which to attempt to make a legal claim against you.


I think the ball is really in your boss's court on whether he will take action. I certainly think that if your boss overheard the comment about "warning" the other company that this should be taken seriously and that a Cease and Desist letter should be issued to your opponent's company.

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