A number of defamation lawyers face this question: can a company officer be held personally liable for an act of defamation? The answer is yes, and as per law, an officer of a corporate firm can be personally responsible if they are involved in authorizing, directing, and approving such a statement.
However, the person cannot be personally liable for the defamatory acts made by the company itself. So, in a word, when the officer personally takes part in the act of defamation like authorizing, approving, or directing the defaming statement. In this blog, we discuss essential details about defamation and how one can avoid charges of libel.
When Will You Need A Defamation Lawyer?
Defamation lawyers are legal persons who can be required in various cases, of which the most common three are discussed here.
1. Civil Defamation
Most cases fall under the category of civil defamation cases. Here, the affected person needs to prove that a false statement had been written or made against them. The person will also be required to establish the defendant person’s identity accurately.
2. Defamation Of Character
In a lawsuit of defamation of character, the defamed person must establish that the slander or libel had caused significant damage to their personal or professional reputation. For the legal procedures, you will need defamation of character lawyer.
3. Social Media Defamation
Because of the extensive use of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram, social media defamation has become relatively common these days. Even if an individual shares a defamatory statement, they will be liable for prosecution.
What Is Commercial Defamation?
Commercial defamation can be defined as the publication of detrimental and false statements or information made available to a third party to disregard someone’s profession or business. The person or company responsible for doing such a thing is held in defamation charge, and the affected party may take legal actions against that specific entity.
What Are The Elements Of Commercial Defamation?
If you want to claim business defamation successfully, you have to show the following evidence.
- A third party was communicated.
- The statement was false.
- It was directed towards the reputation of your business or profession.
- It was made to disrepute you or your business.
- The defaming statement was made to look true to the third party.
A commercial defamation lawyer usually specializes in several areas of law.
Which Statements Are Defamatory?
You should put special focus on this area. Before beginning your legal proceedings, you should first know which statements can be legally called defamatory.
- If the statements are unsatisfactory, embarrassing, or annoying, you cannot call them defamatory.
- If a statement including false information is made to hurt the reputation of an individual, only then the court considers it is defaming.
- So, it is crucial to understand the difference between disappointing information and a false statement.
When it comes to commercial defamation, the court will focus on those statements that can harm a company. If the resulting defamation causes loss for the company, it is also considered.
Can You Claim Defences For Commercial Defamation?
Defences for corporate defamation are pretty similar to those related to civil or individual defamation. If you or your business suffers harm, you can claim defences but consider the following factors.
- Truth is the ultimate defence. So, even if your company or partnership faces defamation, you cannot collect damages if the statements made are true.
- If a defendant makes a false statement, but as an opinion, it can have a defence. But in that case, like an individual defamation claim, the court will consider two factors. First of all, they will see how the statements are presented. Then, it will be checked whether a reasonable person can understand these statements as an opinion or not. Based on these two observations, the court will decide if the comments are defaming.
How Can You Prove That A Company Officer Had Directed, Authorized, Or Approved A Defamatory Statement?
We had already mentioned that you would need to provide solid evidence behind a claim. So, if you have to prove that an officer of a company has intentionally made some false statements, you have to produce documentary evidence like:
- Testimony of company employees,
- Internal company emails, and
- Other proof, if any.
Your corporate defamation lawyer can guide you through the process.
Which Types Of Businesses And Employees Come Under The Law?
The law applies to all Australian businesses like small businesses, LLCs, limited partnerships, corporates, etc.
The officers and all kinds of staff like owners, shareholders, and members of the LLCs can face charges if they are found involved in such an act.
What Can An Officer Do To Avoid Problems?
The most straightforward way to avoid legal consequences is not to get involved in the illegal or defamation acts done by the company.
Where To Find Lawyers?
Defamation Solicitor Perth is a top-rated law firm in Perth that has served clients for many years. They are well-known for their best-quality lawyers and affordable fees. For help, you may contact them anytime.