What would you do if you heard someone was spreading malicious gossip about you?
I never thought it would be something I would ask but it happened to me recently.
When I found out about it I was gobsmacked. Particularly because of who it was.
I barely knew the person. In fact it was someone who works with my wife.
My immediate reaction was to look into how I could go about suing the ass off the person.
Without the slanderous comments being challenged they could continue.
I've never used a lawyer for any other purpose than to buy and sell a property.
Now I was searching Google for how to sue someone for slander.
From my initial investigations it looked like it might be quite expensive with no guarantee of a result at the end.
It's one person's word against another and with no written evidence, it's not easy to prove.
Even though there were witnesses to the malicious gossip, it would be an uphill battle.
In the meantime, my wife persuaded me that the best initial course of action was to make a formal complaint.
So I put together an email and sent it off to the relevant person.
One stipulation in my complaint was that I wanted to know who else the slanderous comments had been made to.
He who knows how to flatter also knows how to slander.
Make A Formal Complaint
I've never made a formal complaint about anyone before in my life.
But I knew roughly how a complaints procedure should work.
I got an acknowledgement for my complaint straight away which gave me some faith in the process.
Now I had to sit back and wait for the outcome and hope it was favourable.
A bit of an awkward situation because my wife works with the person but I had no choice.
Unfortunately I do sometimes see the person around and also the rest of their family.
That's the price you pay for living on a school campus I suppose.
Waiting For The Outcome
I knew there were witnesses so it was really a foregone conclusion.
A few weeks after I made the complaint, I received an anonymous apology note.
It was shoved through my letterbox.
You can imagine how weird it was to get an unsigned note.
It was even more bizarre when I got a second identical note a couple of hours later but at least it was signed this time.
Obviously the person had made a huge blunder and forgotten to sign it!
I'm not convinced of its sincerity.
It seemed more like it was my problem to get over rather than the other way around.
Still, I assumed I'd also get a formal response from my wife's employer.
Disappointed With The Procedure
Having received the notes, I had to prompt the person who I sent the formal complaint to for feedback.
I expected that there would be some form of action taken against the malicious gossiper.
I was thinking either a written warning or at the very least a verbal warning would be appropriate.
It would discourage them from doing this to me or anyone else in the future.
But what I actually got was a letter advising me that it has been dealt with and the behavioural issues had been addressed.
My inference from this was that the only action taken was the requirement to send me an apology note.
And the question I asked about who else the person made the slanderous comments to was ignored.
No Point In Making Things Worse
As much as I'd like to surprise the malicious gossiper with a court appearance, it's not viable.
It wouldn't be worth it financially because of the detrimental cost or professionally because the person works with my wife.
I still feel that the perpetrator of the slanderous rubbish won't have learnt anything.
And I'm left feeling like the situation is unresolved and you can bet your bottom dollar I bear a mammoth grudge.
The way I feel about the situation at the moment means any time I see the person or their family I ignore them.
I know I could take the higher ground but I'm also aware of things that family have done to others in the past and gotten away with it.
They don't deserve my recognition.
What Do You Think?
Have you ever been the victim of slander or defamation?
How did you deal with it and what was the outcome?
If you haven't, what do you think you'd do in this situation?
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