Question posted in the General Law category relating to Gauteng
Question value: R 200.00
There is a person (not working with me) spreading rumors to people at my work. Rumors that I am having an affair with the owner of the company I work for. Also other rumors about my private life, very shameful things which are not true.
I can lose my job because of this seeing as this rumor now got to the owner of the company.
This person is having a very damaging effect on my reputation.
What can I do seeing as it doesn't seem like this person is going to stop anytime soon.
Answer to the Question
Hi there and thank you for your question,
I'm sorry to hear about this person and their malicious attempts at spreading rumours about you. What that person is doing is defaming you. It is defamation of character.
There is a legal recourse for you in which the Courts will assist you. Basically, you have two (2) options -
First, you can apply to court on an urgent ex parte basis (which means, without notice to this person) for interdictory relief in terms whereof the High Court would ORDER this person to stop defaming you, and to stop spreading these rumours about you. You would need to hire a lawyer to assist you with this. The court order would then be served on this person, and if they breach the order, then you can apply to court for "contempt of court" and this person would either be put into jail, or fined. You can move quite quickly on this. If, for example, you consulted with a lawyer today, you could have a court order by Monday/Tuesday next week.
Second, you could sue this person (by way of a summons) for financial damages that this person has caused through defaming you. There would be a trial in about 2 years time when all of the parties would be required to appear in court and you would need to prove that this person defamed you, and as a result thereof you suffered XYZ financial harm. The court would then order this person to pay you for your loses. The problem with this route is that it takes about 2 years, and it does not stop this person from continuing to make these statements.
I can't refer you to a specific lawyer, but I can direct you to www.southafricanlawyer.co.za, where you can find a list of qualified lawyers in your area who will be able to assist you further!
You'd need to speak to your lawyer about the costs involved. In each route, there is an option of holding this person liable for at least a portion of your legal costs.
Perhaps, before you launch legal proceedings, your lawyer could write a letter of demand to this person DEMANDING that they stop, failing which you apply to court? That might be enough to actually stop this person from doing this.
Also, your boss can't fire you just because of these rumours, so don't worry there. If she/he does, then you must apply to the CCMA for an unfair dismissal.
Also, you could (at work at least) make a bit of a joke about it. If everyone KNOWS that nothing is going on, then why should they worry. Why should you worry.
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