The Recorder reports an uptick in defamation claims by fired employees. These claims are often in the form of plaintiffs saying that their bosses gave others false reasons for their firing. These types of claims strike fear in the hearts of employers, but employers do have some powerful defenses to call upon.
Updated 9/15/14: Governor Brown signed AB 2365, put forward by Assemblyman John A. Perez (D-Los Angeles), which makes non-disparagement clauses in contracts for sale or lease of consumer goods or services unlawful unless the clause is knowingly, voluntarily, and intelligently waived by the consumer. Perez authored the bill after learning about the KlearGear case.
The following is a guest blog post by Harmony Groves Kessler, a solo practitioner assisting individuals, small businesses, and attorneys with legal issues in business contracts/transactions public agency law and family law in northern California. She is the former Mayor of Arcata, California, where she served a four-year term on the City Council.
In today’s world, especially with sources like Yelp, it’s simple to find online reviews of most any company. We often rely on posted comments to get a sense of a business and feel justified to warn other customers when we’ve had a bad experience. Companies are increasing their efforts to monitor their online reputation and keep critical reviews from driving business away. But is punishing a customer for a bad review with a large fine going too far?
As Americans, we feel comfortable saying whatever we want about public officials and celebrities on our blogs and websites. We’ve got the First Amendment behind us. Unfortunately, the First Amendment doesn’t stretch to cover everywhere our Internet musings may go. Forum shopping has taken a new turn — libel tourism – in which defamation plaintiffs seek a forum that will provide the least protection for statements.
Libel is back in the news with actress Katie Holmes’ suit against Star Magazine. So, maybe it’s time for a quick refresher on what is libel and the showing needed for a libel claim.