Corporate Cybersmear: Employers File John Doe Defamation Lawsuits Seeking the Identity of Anonymous Employee Internet Posters
24 Pages Posted: 28 Oct 2009
Date Written: October 26, 2002
This article reviews the phenomenal changes in communications made possible by the internet, particularly in respect to the employer-employee relationship. Anonymous â€“ and negative postings by employees who, when armed with the internet wield as much power as communications conglomerates. The authors focus on employers' recourse as to these postings in terms of the legal theory of defamation, along with the privacy and civil procedure hurdles that exist as employers attempt to unmask anonymous and pseudonymous posters. Questions arise regarding the rights of employers to control this speech and their reputations, and as a corollary, the extent to which the posters' identity and speech rights are protected. Courts must balance the rights of each party as they resolve the contours of speech, identity and privacy in the internet age.
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