Business Slander: What Does It Look Like?

As a business owner, seeing a bad review from a customer posted online is like a thorn in your foot. Yet, it's one of the unfortunate aspects of business ownership. However, a slanderous and defaming claim made by an ex-associate, competitor, past employee, or other entity is not a typical part of the business. In fact, it might be a violation that could lead to a lawsuit. Learn about business slander to ensure your brand's reputation is protected.

Basis of Truth

No one likes to hear the truth, and when the truth is bad, it's even harder to embrace. However, as a business professional, you have to be able to accept the good with the bad and also accept the idea that not every person will think your service or goods are awesome or even that you're a good employer. 

Remember, slander and defamation are often rooted in falsehoods. So if the information stated about your company is 100% accurate, it won't likely open the door for you to file a suit. 

Intention and Motive

People unfortunately do things that don't make a lot of sense. However, not every improper action is done with malice. Before you can proceed with a lawsuit, the judge might ask for evidence that proves the actions of the third party were done with the intent or motivation to defame your business. 

For example, with a competing business, evidence that your company and the other company was competing for the same contract might be a good start. An ex-employer that leaves a comment on a job board about the perils of working for your company, however, won't likely show an ill motive. 

Public Consumption

An important component of business slander and defamation suits is whether or not the information was provided for public consumption. In the legal world, this practice is referred to as publication. Publication simply means that the information was shared with an uninvolved third party. 

In this instance, another business owner making disparaging comments about your company directly to you would not count. However, if they spread a falsehood about your company in a room of other business owners, on social media, or any other public forum, the instance would likely meet the publication standard. 

If you believe your company is the victim of slander or defamation — speak with a corporate attorney. A skilled attorney will review the accusations and help you move in the right direction with your concerns. Use this link to learn more.