If you’ve slandered someone and might get into trouble because of it you’ll want to know whether that conduct could lead to you being disciplined or even dismissed. In order to clarify the situation we’ll be investigating in this post:

  1. What is slander?
  2. Can slander be classed as misconduct?
  3. Can you be disciplined for slander?
  4. Can you be dismissed for slander?

What is slander?

Slander is a “sub-category” of defamation. Defamation occurs when a false statement is made by one person and is published to someone other than the person being defamed, causing that person loss. Whether a statement is libel or slander depends upon the manner in which the untrue statement is published. If the statement is published in semi-permanent form (i.e. spoken) then slander will generally have occurred. However, if the statement is published in permanent form (i.e. recorded in some manner) then libel will generally have occurred. Slander normally occurs, therefore, when a false statement is orally made to a person other than the person being defamed, with such statement causing the defamed person loss.

Can slander be classed as misconduct?

Potentially, yes. Whether slander could be construed as misconduct depends on a number of factors, including:

  1. The seriousness of the statement made
  2.  To whom the statement was made
  3. Where the statement was made (inside or outside of work)
  4. Whether your employer’s disciplinary policy classifies such conduct as misconduct; and (among others)
  5. The potential effect on your employer of such a statement

Generally, publishing untrue statements about co-workers or people outside of work can be (depending upon the nature of the statement) fairly serious and may therefore be classed as misconduct.

Can you be disciplined for slander?

Again, depending on the circumstances, yes. You’re particularly likely to be considered for disciplinary action if the slanderous statement refers to a co-worker (and is therefore an internal matter) and if your statement has brought or could bring your employer into disrepute. If you are to be disciplined then your employer should carry out a fair investigation into what’s occurred and allow you to present your case regarding the slander at the disciplinary hearing.

Can you be dismissed for slander?

If the slanderous statement is particularly egregious then you could be dismissed for gross misconduct for a first offence. This may occur if, for example, your statement brought your employer into disrepute or if the nature of your statement was aimed at a co-worker and caused personal difficulties between you at work. If you’ve been sanctioned for previous misconduct (which hasn’t expired) then your employer may also be entitled to dismiss you for your cumulative disciplinaries.

This is a guest post provided by Redmans – specialist unfair dismissal no win no fee solicitors

About

Redmans Solicitors are a law firm based in Richmond, London. They are specialist employment lawyers and represent both employers and employees in the Employment Tribunal

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