What can a worker do if his former employer is ‘bad-mouthing’ him?

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Published on LexisPSL on 14/05/2018

The following Employment Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • What can a worker do if his former employer is ‘bad-mouthing’ him?

What can a worker do if his former employer is ‘bad-mouthing’ him?

This Q&A considers what a worker can do if his former employer is ‘bad-mouthing’ him (ie making derogatory comments about him).

If ‘bad-mouthing’ takes place during employment, it will probably be covered by the implied term of trust and confidence (see Practice Note: The term of trust and confidence). An employee may wish to raise a grievance if he hears that something bad is being said about him. Alternatively a breach of that term may be sufficient to justify the employee resigning and claiming constructive dismissal (see Practice Note: Constructive dismissal). However the employee would need to be sufficiently certain that the comments had actually been made and were sufficiently serious to justify him resigning.

Implied terms will usually cease when the employment terminates, the notable exception being the duty of confidentiality, which survives termination in respect of information that is clearly highly confidential and highly important, ie trade secrets (see Practice Notes: The duty of fidelity and fiduciary duties—Duty of fidelity—trade secrets and confidential information and Confidential information and trade secrets in employment). Post-termination of employment, there would need to be an express contractual term to prevent the employer from ‘bad-mouthing’ the employee (or vice versa). It would be unusual to see such a term in the contract of employment. If the employment terminated

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