Recently, a salesman sued his company for unlawful termination. He didn’t get far; the judge dismissed his case. It didn’t end there, though, because the salesman’s former employer turned around and counter-sued for defamation. What did the salesman say that prompted his former bosses to file a slander suit?
“I got fired for not taking clients to strip clubs!”
Employer v. Employee Business Defamation Lawsuit Over Stripper Allegations
Now, let us abandon naivety; salespeople have been known to close a deal – or a lifetime’s worth – over ribs and, errrr, racks. But the p-rn industry aside, few U.S. companies would welcome accusations of prurient activity on company time. That, however, is supposedly what Michael Vackar did to Superior Supply & Steel (“Superior”).
So, the company filed a business defamation lawsuit against him.
Defendant’s Attorney Made The Stripper Comment On ‘Behalf’ Of His Client, But His Client Is Still Considered The Proper Defendant
Reports on the case are vague, but from what I can decipher, the stripper accusations came about thanks to a post-lawsuit press conference held by Vackar’s attorney in which he blamed his client’s ouster on Vackar’s Puritan-like refusal to take clients to Gentlemen’s Clubs.
Company Insists Salesman Fired For Shady Expense Reports And Nothing More
Spokespeople for Superior, however, say Vackar got fired for one reason and one reason only — shady expense reports. Four of them, to be precise. To bolster its claim, the company submitted several affidavits from current employees affirming that Superior has never, never, ever told a salesperson to entertain clients at a strip club. Executives also point to the company handbook, which files strip clubs on the naughty page.
Judge Sides With Business In Defamation Suit Initial Proceedings
Vackar’s attorneys tried to get the employee defamation case dismissed, but the presiding judge sided with Superior, saying, “Sanctions are warranted.” He reasoned:
“Superior has submitted uncontroverted evidence that at least some of what Vackar’s counsel told the media was false.”
“There are no witnesses who support Vackar’s version of events, although Vackar, through counsel, stated that there were ‘certainly’ multiple witnesses to Superior’s demand that sales representatives take clients to strip clubs, obtain sexual favors for the clients, and videotape them for blackmail. All the witness affidavits and declarations are to the contrary.”
Defamation Law Is All That Matters In This Case; As such: Advantage Business
Some of you out there are reading this and thinking, “Yeah right. The company probably made a few employees lie about the alleged purity of Superior corporate culture – and now the ‘little guy’ unfairly loses again for telling the truth.”
And you know what? You may very well be right. Or, you could be 100% wrong. Either way, it does not matter. What matters is the law – and this is a straightforward employer v. employee defamation case.
Truth =/ Winning
To be blunt, businesses can sometimes win a defamation lawsuit even if a truthful statement is at issue. (Note: We are NOT saying that Superior is lying in any way shape or form; we’re just stating a fact about the law, separate from the Superior case.)
Bottom line: Superior has “proof” that Vackar made a false statement of fact about the company’s professional ethics. As such, their chances of winning this business defamation case are greatly improved.
Contact A Business Defamation Lawyer
This business defamation case is just beginning. Bookmark this page if you’re interested in the outcome.
If your business is embattled by a slander or libel situation – and you’re ready to fix the problem instead of letting it fester – get in touch with Kelly / Warner Law today. We have successfully handled many business defamation lawsuits involving former employees. Our legal motto is “quickly, discreetly and fiercely” – we know what to do to fix your issue, and we know trade libel law — like Michelangelo knew painting.
Pick up the phone and get in touch today, to make your business defamation situation go away.