Pulling a sickie can be bad for your employment health

A website previously unbeknown to this female media lawyer at least – TheLADbible – came to my attention when one of its stories gained national tabloid currency in the tabloids this weekend. The simple tale features an employee telling his boss he couldn’t make it to the office: ‘I won’t be in today I think I’ve count (sic) kevs 24 hour bug’. The 24 hour bug, however, may in fact have been a bout of 24 hour boozing. And this was brought to the boss’s attention when he spied a pic of a rather delicate looking staff member propped against a smiling fellow reveller. Problem for our boy is that while she included the snap of her with the culprit in his cups in her Snapchat stories, she was also friends with his boss. Continue reading

Bo-Jo, Gove and Mrs Gove – a tale of one e-mail

Should e-mails be formal or chatty? Should you start with ‘Dear Sir’ or ‘Hi there’? Do normal grammatical standards apply? A plethora of styles and ideas divide opinion. But there is one thing upon which most of us agree, and that is that a private e-mail should remain a private e-mail. Continue reading

Fashion Forward: Thinking ahead to protect reputation and brand

Fashion: it’s about how we look on the outside, turning heads and making a statement without opening our mouths. At the same time, fashion is about how we feel on the inside, enveloped in confidence when wrapped in our favourite item. Continue reading

Can sports stars rehab an injured reputation?

Over the last few months we have seen much speculation in the media about the future careers of high profile sports stars convicted of serious crimes.  Oscar Pistorius was convicted of culpable homicide and Ched Evans was released from prison on 17 October last year after serving half of a five year sentence for rape.  His conviction is currently being reviewed by the Criminal Cases Review Commission.  Governing bodies, commercial sponsors and the public have debated the question: can you rehabilitate a high profile athlete?

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EU turns up the heat on Google

Following the ECJ’s controversial ruling in Google Spain, the world’s favourite search engine has had a tough time in seeking to tread the line between respecting the judgment while maintaining its free speech agenda. Google has, to date, had somewhat of a free rein in deciding unilaterally, how to implement the rather vague requirements of the so-called Right to Be Forgotten. And it has made some questionable decisions as to how it proposes to handle deletion requests. Continue reading

Online and over-exposed

Politicians go on the (ex-)offensive over criminalising ‘revenge porn’

A battle is raging in the UK about whether or not to follow several US states in criminalising ‘revenge porn’. This is – worryingly – a growing phenomenon where aggrieved former partners post explicit images of their exes, taken during happier times, online without their consent.  Women’s Aid and the UK Safer Internet Centre both support criminalising the practice, while Lord Marks and Baroness Grender proposed the introduction of a one year prison term for offenders.  However, critics question whether the sledgehammer of the criminal law is required and whether any new legislation would cover explicit ‘selfies’ (i.e. pictures the subject takes of themselves but then provides to others) which are estimated to make up 50-80% of images uploaded by revenge pornistas.

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London calling – Libel is still alive and kicking

A judge in the defamation court this week, struck out a libel claim brought by a former Russian policeman against a UK based fund manager, Mr Browder, in respect of an English language campaign website run by him. The case has been hailed as bringing to an end London’s proud boast of being the libel capital of the world. No longer, happily say the media, will claims be brought by foreigners seeking to take advantage of our libel laws to obtain vindication here. Continue reading

*Innocent face*

The court has today ruled in the libel case brought by Lord McAlpine against Sally Bercow, in his favour.

Last year the wife of the Commons Speaker had tweeted, ‘Why is Lord McApline trending? *Innocent face*’. While apologising to him privately, Ms Bercow had argued that the tweet was simply a neutral question as to why he was trending and did not imply anything in respect of Lord McAlpine. It may have been mischievous and foolish, but was not defamatory.

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Damaging a corporate reputation

In a competitive market place and particularly perhaps in times of economic difficulty, a company’s reputation may be its most valuable asset. But proposals in the Defamation Bill, currently working its way through Parliament, have sought to put a spanner in the works for company’s seeking to restore a damaged reputation through the libel courts. Continue reading

Press Regulation – Leveson overview

The thorny issue of press regulation has been taking up many column inches in the newspapers since the Leveson Inquiry into press ethics got under way.

Law Society Gazette media columnist Amber Melville-Brown, and Withers’ Reputation Management team fellow member Rupert Cowper-Coles were asked to provide an update to the readers of the Gazette, which was published on 8 April 2013. Continue reading