Question Details: Another staff member claimed to our Manager that I was a paedophile, which is not true. The Manager spread the rumour around staff - I took the matter to the Director but he said it had nothing to do with the company. Since that time I have suffered severe depression consistently. I am no longer able to work in the industry, my personal life is shattered and my role as a father is somewhat worthless. Do I have a claim? Could I find a lawyer who will represent me on the basis that I only pay if we win the claim?
Filed under Defamation | 3669 View(s)
We are not aware of any "success only" lawyers in Auckland, but you could try calling around Auckland lawyers who are listed with the Auckland District Law Society as working in the area of defamation: www.adls.org.nz. Or you can search for a lawyer on the New Zealand Law Society website: www.nzls.org.nz. There are specific rules that lawyers must follow when charging based on conditional fee arrangements, so be sure to discuss with your lawyer what the process and criteria for payment will be. You might also consider seeking civil legal aid. Information on the legal aid process is available here: www.justice.govt.nz.
On the facts you have given, you might have a defamation claim, but we cannot be sure without knowing more. You need to talk to a lawyer in person and seriously consider your options, as taking a defamation action is a serious matter and potentially very costly.
You could also consider using employment law and taking your issue to mediation with Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (formerly the Department of Labour - www.dol.govt.nz) and the Employment Relations Authority (www.era.govt.nz). Using an employment law approach is likely to be a much faster, less costly, and easier process than a defamation case. Remember though that you have to raise a personal grievance with your employer within 90 days of the event you are complaining about, so you should seek advice soon.
It is also important that you have personal support so that you can start to enjoy all the important parts of life you feel you are missing out on at the moment. Lifeline (0800 543 354) is a good place to start if you would like to talk to someone about what you are feeling. If you have not already, it is also a good idea to talk to your GP about counselling and other services near you which may help you to cope with this experience.
Answered 26 Apr 2013. The IMPORTANT NOTICE below is part of this answer.
The answer provided above is intended for general informational purposes only and cannot be
considered a substitute for face-to-face legal advice. It should not be relied upon as the sole
basis for taking action in relation to a legal issue. Laws change frequently, and small
variations in the facts, or a fact not provided in the question, can often change a legal
outcome or a lawyer’s conclusion. No liability whatsoever is accepted by the authors or
publishers of the answer, for loss, damage or inconvenience arising in any way from the use of
this site. While each answer has been published by a lawyer with a practising certificate, that
person may not necessarily have experience in the particular area of law involved.