Defamation costs employee $1.6m

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Defamation costs employee $1.6m

A dismissed manager was ordered to pay damages of $1.6 million to his former employer and three of its directors as a result of defamatory allegations he made against the company and the directors.

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A dismissed manager was ordered to pay damages of $1.6 million to his former employer and three of its directors as a result of defamatory allegations he made against the company and the directors.

Justice Simpson in the NSW Supreme Court made the order after a jury found the manager was the author of anonymous emails about the company and directors.

The emails during 2000 and 2001 alleged corrupt conduct, bribes and rorts.

The project finances manager was found to have pornography on his office computer in December 1997, and his employment was terminated in January 2001 after similar events.

Damage to company

Justice Simpson said the company was a functioning, reputable and successful engineering company. It did business with organisations such as the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank and it was likely that the World Bank had carried out an investigation in relation to SMEC as a result of an anonymous email.

The judge rejected an argument that the publications were made in circumstances such that the company and directors were unlikely to suffer harm.

SMEC Holdings Ltd v Boniface [2007] NSWSC 1402 (5 December 2007)


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