Postings on Facebook v. “Spotted Sept-Îles”: $17 500 for having denigrated his ex-employer

Release date: February 1st, 2017

The owners of two sheltered workshops for adults with mental disabilities sued an ex-employee for damages related to libel and injury to their reputation. The latter had been hired as an attendant, and was dismissed after just short of sixteen hours of work, as he did not meet the employer’s requirements. Following his dismissal, he posted comments on his Facebook page and on the page of “Spotted Sept-Îles” casting doubt on the quality of services provided by the plaintiffs’ workshops. An investigation conducted thereafter by the CISSS de la Côte-Nord confirmed the excellence of the care provided by both workshops. According to the judge, the defendant’s comments damaged the high regard and consideration enjoyed by the plaintiffs and gave rise to unfavourable and unpleasant feelings towards them in the community. These false and slanderous messages have damaged the plaintiffs’ reputations. The defendant was consequently sentenced to pay the plaintiffs $12 500 in moral damages and $5 000 in punitive damages.

Servant v. Ritchie, DTE 2016T-673, 2016 QCCQ 7282, Justice Denis Le Reste

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