Can News Of the World employees sue for stigma ?
In addition to many interesting (and disturbing) aspects of the current News of the World hacking scandal, interesting employment and contract law issues arise relating to the many journalists who have lost their jobs with the sudden closure of the publication.
Employment solicitors advise that should any of the journalists struggle to secure new jobs, they may argue that this failure is related to their professional reputation being impugned by association.
A 1997 House of Lords ruling provides a little known legal basis for claiming damages, based on breach of contract and in particular, a breach of the duty of mutual trust and confidence inherent in all employment contracts. However, when the judgment was given in the 1997 case, the Judge did state that these types of claims, due to the myriad reasons a prospective employee might not succeed with a job application, would be “inherently difficult to prove”.