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Can a client really sue me for defamation for the review I left on their social media?

keishajexine
Active Member
Keisha Jexine D Member Since: Mar 11, 2017
1 of 16

I worked with horrible clients who expected me to work for free. They also wanted me to commit plagiarism by asking me to copy-paste text content from one of their clients' email campaigns onto another clients email series. The contract has ended and I posted honest reviews on their social media pages. Now they are saying it is defamation and they can sue me for it. They're saying they've contacted their legal team and they will be in touch with Upwork. Is this something I should be worried about? They're saying they have NDA with their clients and that I should not have mentioned them on the reviews.

 

Any advice would be helpful. Thanks in advance!

varungs
Community Guru
Varun G Member Since: Dec 11, 2019
2 of 16

Anyone can sue you for anything. Whether they win or not is a different matter.

Defamation suits usually go to trial if there is some sort of tangible financial or psychological damage, and here the client can claim that you caused their business to lose revenue. Your defense can be that they asked you to do immoral/unethical things, didn't pay you, you only stated facts, etc. Ultimately it depends on your state's laws and how good your attorney is.


keishajexine
Active Member
Keisha Jexine D Member Since: Mar 11, 2017
3 of 16

Thanks so much for the information! They're threatening to have their legal team contact Upwork so they can give me trouble. Is that something they can do as well? And should I be worried about my Upwork account getting affected at all? Thanks again in advance!

robin_hyman
Community Guru
Robin H Member Since: May 28, 2019
4 of 16

Did you defame them on Upwork too?  I don't see why Upwork would get involved if this is regarding the client's social pages.  

 

I also don't know why would stoop low enough to blast them on social media.  Provide honest feedback on Upwork and move on.  There are plenty of clients doing unethical things every day.  You can't be the police.  

petra_r
Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
5 of 16

Robin H wrote:

 I don't see why Upwork would get involved if this is regarding the client's social pages.  


They certainly would if the client's legal team does contact them.

 


Robin H wrote:

I also don't know why you would stoop low enough to blast them on social media.  Provide honest feedback on Upwork and move on. 


Agreed... Unbelievably unprofessional. It is, however, entirely in line with the OPs responses to client feedback on her profile, which truthfully makes horrifying reading.


Whist it is doubtful that the client in South Afrika would go to the expense of taking any legal action against a freelancer in the Philippines, a social media person would surely know that badmouthing a client on their own social media is a shockingly horrific idea.

 

tlsanders
Community Guru
Tiffany S Member Since: Jan 15, 2016
6 of 16

Robin H wrote:

Did you defame them on Upwork too?  I don't see why Upwork would get involved if this is regarding the client's social pages.  

 


Upwork's default contract terms (misleadingly renamed "Optional," but in fact still applied by default unless explicitly replaced) include an NDA. Thus, if OP really did post confidential information (which it seems like she's admitting to), she's violated Upwork's terms.

lysis10
Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
7 of 16

Worry about it when the guy comes to your door to serve you papers.

varungs
Community Guru
Varun G Member Since: Dec 11, 2019
8 of 16

You are not an Upwork employee so Upwork is not liable for your actions. The client will likely not sue Upwork. They will likely sue you, as you are personally liable for the defamation, not them. That being said, I don't think Upwork will mess with your account, but then again, I don't have experience with Upwork and legal cases.

lysis10
Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
9 of 16

Varun G wrote:

You are not an Upwork employee so Upwork is not liable for your actions. The client will likely not sue Upwork. They will likely sue you, as you are personally liable for the defamation, not them. That being said, I don't think Upwork will mess with your account, but then again, I don't have experience with Upwork and legal cases.


A lawyer would never go after her, because she doesn't have anything to go after. The lawyer might throw Upwork in the mix because Upwork has the deep pockets. Lawyers sometimes throw everyone into the pot and see which one sticks. One of the many times my dad got sued, he was being sued for trespassing and damage to property (and a bunch of other things i don't remember). The lawyer threw the crane company into the mix because my dad had used them to take back his equipment when he damaged the property. 

 

But this is just like the other person blowing hot air. Nobody doing jack poop.

petra_r
Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
10 of 16

Varun G wrote:
The client will likely not sue Upwork.

The client had no intention of suing Upwork. The client threatened to sue her.

 


Varun G wrote:

 That being said, I don't think Upwork will mess with your account, but then again, I don't have experience with Upwork and legal cases.


The client is in South Africa. The OP is in the Philippines. The client isn't going to sue anybody because it would cost more money than they could ever possibly get from her. Even if they won an international lawsuit and were awarded costs, actually getting the money would be impossible

 

This has less to do with legal cases and more to do with the freelancer doing what they did in connection with a Upwork contract.

 

I've seen freelancers suspended for unprofessional behaviour against clients outside Upwork, so I wouldn't be too sure that nothing will happen if the client or their legal team really do lodge a formal complaint with evidence.

 

Mentioning the client's client on social media violates the terms of service (confidentiality) 

 

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