Posted on: 8 August 2018Share
When you're a business owner, it's important for you to know that you can be held legally responsible for your employees' actions. While you might think of serious issues such as one of your drivers driving drunk or an employee's negligence hurting a member of the public, you should also give some thought to defamation. Slander and libel are serious issues that can tie you up in legal matters that drain your time and money.
You're responsible for your employees, and that means that you need to take steps to reduce the risk of them defaming your competitors. They may do so out of loyalty to your brand or to help get you more business, but such actions may also lead to headaches. Here are some steps that you can take to reduce such a risk.
Train Them About Libel And Slander
There's a considerable probability that your employees don't have a clear understanding of libel and slander, so one of your first priorities should be to educate them. You may also be able to use some information on this topic, so it's worthwhile to hire an attorney who specializes in defamation to conduct a training seminar for your staff. He or she can talk them through different examples of libel and slander and how such situations may be applicable in your line of work. This training can be instrumental in decreasing the risk of an employee defaming a competitor.
Emphasize The Discussion Of Your Company's Merits
Defamation is easy when an employee wants to build up your company in a prospective customer's mind. He or she may start to criticize a competitor and may say something that is slanderous. It's possible that this information could get back to the competitor, which could lead to legal issues. Teach your staff that to be positive about your company, it's not necessary to even discuss the competition. Ensure that your staff members know many positive things about your brand and products or services so that they can concentrate on these things when speaking to people.
Teach Discretion About Written Correspondence
Written defamation is an issue because there's tangible proof of what was said. Whereas a good personal injury attorney can fight against slander by saying that your employee's comments were taken out of context or even fabricated, it's difficult to defend a defamatory email in the hands of your competitor's legal team. Teach your employees to be very discerning about what they write when communicating with customers through this means. One rule that you may wish to consider is to request that they never mention the competition in any way.
For more information, contact your local attorneys.