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Big Problem or empty threats?

Discussion in 'Legal Issues' started by Brian123, Jul 11, 2007.

  1. #1
    Hello all.

    Well as some of you may be aware, I set up a forum for people to discuss issues affecting them in the work place.

    One of the main and most active boards in the forum was for the company I work for.

    The site has been online for almost 12 months now, and most of the people at work know it was me behind the site.
    SEMrush
    Today, I was called up to see the director general of the company for a "informal chat" he told me he wants the site taken offline by Friday, or the company will seek legal advice, and take me to court for liable comments that have been made on the site. I have been threatened with suspension from work for bringing the company in to disrepute, and he said potential customers may not bring their business to us because of what they might read on the site.
    My site now ranks higher than the actual company site in the rankings!

    I have disclaimers on the site saying I cannot be held responsible for the comments of other people, but he says that they will take me to court.

    I have been threatened with the loss of my job if I don't take it offline by Friday.

    What do you guys think I should do?
    I have closed it temporary, but should I bring it back?

    Thanks in advance :)
     
    Brian123, Jul 11, 2007 IP
    SEMrush
  2. Geoffrey

    Geoffrey Banned

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    #2
    Yes, any post/thread made is the users responisbility, and you cannot be held responsible for it.
    Maybe you should close down the bit about your company as you might have to take down more if this proceeds further.
    Tell your boss/your company about how sorry you are, and I'm sure everything will be back to normal.
     
    Geoffrey, Jul 11, 2007 IP
  3. bccruzer

    bccruzer Peon

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    #3
    Although you are legally in the right, you should close it. There will be severe legal hassles if you file a workers complaint, which you should do if you are fired. Its not worth a forum, if you are living off your day job.
    I remind you that you are legally safe, though, no matter if you keep the board online. Several court cases about blogs of workers have been decided in the workers favor, and this is third-party opinions anyway. You can argue that since youu are not posting the opinions or influencing them, its an objective forum that could have been amde by anyone. To be threatened like this is legally wrong.
     
    bccruzer, Jul 11, 2007 IP
  4. jameserase

    jameserase Peon

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    #4
    Yes, you will probably lose your job if you continue on. It is a matter of free speech, if you wanted to keep the site and try and keep your job (even though they can make it hell for you) I would recommend that you contact news networks or even the ACL.

    That said, they dont need to even say that fired you due to the site, they can just simply fire you. I had an employee when I was a manager at an insurance company who wrote about me in his blog, needless to say it wasn't the nicest stuff and it influenced my choice to get rid of him for sure.
     
    jameserase, Jul 11, 2007 IP
  5. subseo

    subseo Guest

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    #5
    Right so, it's not about the legal problems as it is about whether you want or don't want to keep your job.

    Show me one sane manager who wants to keep a person employed that runs a site containing negative stuff about their company.
     
    subseo, Jul 11, 2007 IP
  6. AstarothSolutions

    AstarothSolutions Peon

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    #6
    You should seek proper legal advise.... you need to get your contract of employment checked as well as all the terms and conditions on the site etc.

    You cannot divorce your legal responsibilities simply by having terms and conditions and whilst you say it is posters responsibilities if you are made aware of liabelious comments you must remove them and refusing to do so will land you in legal trouble.

    There is the potential for gross misconduct under your contract of employment if you have been aiding the public putting down of the company - if you ever moonlight from your job, make sure it never has any connection to the industry your employer is in and sure as hell no mention of your current employer.
     
    AstarothSolutions, Jul 11, 2007 IP
  7. cherry_yuya

    cherry_yuya Active Member

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    #7
    I am not a legal expert here but isn't most companies have some sort of 'non disclosure policy', I'm not sure of the name but it's a policy which forbids the employees from telling insiders news of the company. The problem is that you, who happen to be the employee, are the owner.

    Can't you try to sell the website to someone else? Perhaps work with your lawyer to try to find some proofs which can be used to show that you have transferred the site to someone else. If this is doable then at least you are getting something from it instead of having to close it down.
     
    cherry_yuya, Jul 11, 2007 IP
  8. Brian123

    Brian123 Well-Known Member

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    #8
    After being online for almost 12 months, why have they decided to do something about it now?
    It is a national newspaper that I work for, and they promote freedom of speech.
    The manager didn't dismiss the whole site, he said that if it was brought internally, so no one in the public domain could see it, it might work!
     
    Brian123, Jul 11, 2007 IP
  9. cormac

    cormac Peon

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    #9
    I am guessing you are U.K. based as I've seen previous threads on your forum and the companies mentioned. Personally I would walk very carefully on this one as you are at risk of losing your job and probably being dragged to court. Are you a member of a Union? If so seek their advice.

    This is becoming very common in the U.K. from what I've seen. See this previous news article on a bloke from Scotland who was sacked because of his blog.
     
    cormac, Jul 11, 2007 IP
  10. Makubwa

    Makubwa Active Member

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    #10
    Why did you let them know the site is yours?
     
    Makubwa, Jul 11, 2007 IP
  11. Makubwa

    Makubwa Active Member

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    #11
    I also see you have taken your site offline now... consider 'selling' this to someone else perhaps?
     
    Makubwa, Jul 11, 2007 IP
  12. cormac

    cormac Peon

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    #12
    If thats the case make that section private to members only and let your boss know it cant get indexed by the search engines.

    Funny how they promote free speech eh? :rolleyes:
     
    cormac, Jul 11, 2007 IP
  13. Brian123

    Brian123 Well-Known Member

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    #13
    I understand what you are saying cormac, but there is other companies listed on the site also. I set the site up for employees of any company to discuss issues that they would find difficult speaking with a manager on a one to one basis.
    It just so happens that the company I work for is also listed, and is the most active part of the forum.
    I don't personally slate the company, and I don't encourage other people to do so, but you will always get those who have their gripes, and say things that could be damaging to the reputation to the company, but if it is the truth, who am I to censor that?
     
    Brian123, Jul 11, 2007 IP
  14. Brian123

    Brian123 Well-Known Member

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    #14
    I mentioned what if it was someone outside of the company who owned the site, and he said they would be seeking legal advice about it now.
    This leads me to believe if legally they could have it taken down, they would of done it by now - no matter who owns the site.

    I made the mistake of registering the domains in my name!
     
    Brian123, Jul 11, 2007 IP
    Makubwa likes this.
  15. Makubwa

    Makubwa Active Member

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    #15
    I dont think that if somebody else owned the site there would be any action taken, check out www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk , they have been in operation for some time and slate off loads of companies. I think the best thing to do is to take it offline and 'sell' your domain.

    I am also based in the UK. At this stage I would consider joining a trade union.
    Freedom of speech cannot be encroached by companies however with you being an employee of one of the ones being discussed, this could be contravening your terms of employment.
     
    Makubwa, Jul 11, 2007 IP
  16. Brian123

    Brian123 Well-Known Member

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    #16
    So the general agreement here is legally I have done nothing wrong, but it would be in my best interests to remove the site for the sake of my job?
     
    Brian123, Jul 11, 2007 IP
  17. cormac

    cormac Peon

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    #17
    Although I hate to say it but yes to save your job or play it safe you are best to remove it.
     
    cormac, Jul 11, 2007 IP
  18. Dave Zan

    Dave Zan Well-Known Member

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    #18
    Which is putting food on your table, your site or your job?

    I wouldn't go as far as saying you haven't done anything legally wrong without
    being able to determine any and all factors of your case, namely any contract
    or policy agreed upon with your employer.
     
    Dave Zan, Jul 11, 2007 IP
  19. hmansfield

    hmansfield Guest

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    #19
    Listen to the people man. You are bitting the hand that feeds yo. Not wise.
     
    hmansfield, Jul 11, 2007 IP
  20. Brian123

    Brian123 Well-Known Member

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    #20
    Thanks for all your replies.
    I haven't taken this decision lightly, but I have removed the site. I would appreciate it if you could take a look at what I have put about the whole issue on the site (link in my sig) and let me know if that is reasonable, or is it a bit strong?
    Thanks once again for all of your sound advice.
     
    Brian123, Jul 12, 2007 IP