Would it be slander or liable to contact a former coworker's current manager?

A former coworker has stated he took a carbon copy of his work place desktop and at least one database containing client information. His assertation is that he has all of the information a sales rep currently working at our company has on ALL of our clients. He has also stated he is going to target our client list and steal them from us.

While he was with our company he started his own ad agency and sold his services to the clients he was hired to sell advertising to for our company. He has indicated he will continue to do the same at his new place of employment.

Our company is large (10,000+ employees nationwide) while his new employer is more of a mom & pop (6-10 all local).

Would it be slander or liable to contact his current manager to inform them of potential issues. Without specifics, of course.

My concern is not that he will be able to steal our clients. I do worry that he will do damage to his new employer if he chooses to pilfer their client database or other proprietary information.

1 answer  |  asked Jan 11, 2016 5:59 PM [EST]  |  applies to California

Answers (1)

Marilynn Mika Spencer
If you are asking on behalf of your employer, certainly an employer of this size has its own attorneys who can advise in this situation. If you are asking on behalf of the former employee's new employer, it is hard to understand why it is your concern at all.

Regarding your question about slander or libel:

Defamation can be libel (written) or slander (oral). Generally, defamation is a false and unprivileged statement which exposes a person to hatred, contempt, ridicule or injury, or which causes the person to be shunned or avoided, or which has a tendency to injure the person in his or her occupation. Some kinds of defamation require the plaintiff to prove actual harm. Other kinds of defamation constitute defamation per se, which means harm is assumed due to the nature of the defamation.

While a truthful statement is not defamatory, there are related legal violations, such as "false light," that make certain truthful statements illegal. Your best bet is to stay out of this. If you choose to involve yourself, then you should retain an attorney to discuss the details.

posted by Marilynn Mika Spencer  |  Jan 16, 2016 11:18 PM [EST]

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