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Defamation what the law says...

Updated: Jan 19

Better Call Eva

➡ an employee insults her employers in a Facebook group called "management bitches", she wins.

➡️ A food blogger writes a slightly too salty review (lol) about a restaurant she visited, she is doomed.

But how is this possible? It does not make sense ? I'll explain 👇🏼

E-reputation, defamation, commercial denigration… concepts that are not very familiar, but that we hear more and more since the rise of the internet and RS.

Can you whip your client (or employer) in the public square while sleeping soundly?

…rhetorical question, of course.

Small memento to see more clearly:

⏺ Defamation

It is defined as the allegation of a fact that undermines the honor or consideration of a person.

Here, the author of the defamation has the conscience and the will to undermine the honor of the victim.

Ex. A google comment on a restaurant claiming non-compliance with hygiene rules is defamation

⏳ Mega short limitation period: 3 months

📕 Sanctioned under the Freedom of the Press Act 1881

📌 Note: Defamation only applies to people. It does not relate to products or services.

⏺ Commercial disparagement

It consists of spreading derogatory and malicious information about a person, a company or a competitor's products.

It gives rise to a right to compensation when the company concerned is designated, even implicitly. It is part of the sphere of unfair competition.

Ex. A developer making a linkedin post denouncing the dubious activities of a client for whom he worked.

📕Sanctioned on the basis of article 1240 of the Civil Code

⏳ Longer limitation period: 5 years

📌 Note: denigration must be public. If the comments are published on a review site, they are public. Conversely, if they are on a network accessible to a limited number of people, then it cannot be qualified.

Are you starting to see things more clearly? 😉

Back to our sheep. 🐑

✅ The charming employee fired for insulting her management won her case.

She simply argued that the famous Facebook group was private: only 14 people were members. The serious misconduct retained by the employer did not convince the Court of Cassation, which considered that these elements fell within his private life.

❌ For the blogger, having titled her video "the place to avoid in Cape Town" was considered "an obvious denigration intended to scare away potential customers before they even read it".

💡 Note that telling the truth does not prevent denigration. Regardless of whether the information is true, denigration can be qualified if the information disclosed is of a harmful nature.

Moral: think what you really want, but don't write anything harmful on the internet! 😬

Better Call Eva


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