Threatened with defamation after posting racist email online

Australia's #1 for Law
Join 150,000 Australians every month. Ask a question, respond to a question and better understand the law today!
FREE - Join Now

Brambles

Member
3 February 2020
1
0
1
Hi,

This question is about an ongoing dispute my partner and I have been having with a real estate agent. My husband and I withdrew from an apartment being leased by this agent and when we did, the agent sent us an extremely racist email full of racial slurs and stated that they would no longer be recommending tenants from “untrustworthy ethnic groups” like ours. This was followed up by a second racist email.

After receiving this email, I left a one star Google review where I copy-pasted this email into my review. My review was entirely about the racism and did not even touch on the details of the ongoing dispute. My husband also shared a screenshot with this email to his Facebook page and people who viewed it left one star ratings on the real estate agency’s page because they were shocked by the racial language. We took the action of going online with this because Fair Trade will do nothing about this and there is no other legal recourse for us to address how we’ve been treated.

The real estate agent has made a formal complaint to my workplace despite this issue having nothing to do with my work, demanding an apology. She is now threatening to sue us for defamation. I believe that everything we have done is based on email evidence and anything that has been posted online is true. Can she bring a case against us?
 

Rod

Lawyer
LawTap Verified
27 May 2014
6,377
892
2,894
Can she bring a case against us?
Yes. Anyone can make an application, however this is not the question you should be asking.

Based purely on your post, they do not appear to have a proper basis for making a complaint, and you appear to have an excellent defence - truth. If the agent does start a case, and you will win, then you go for a costs order against them.

re: Writing to your workplace. That is actionable by you and may be worth a solicitor's letter telling them to cease and desist contacting your employer. The agent may also be breaching your confidentiality using information provided for leasing purposes, for an entirely different purpose. It may be worth a call to whoever regulates the Real Estate agents in your State to make a complaint.
 

rjm

Well-Known Member
2 February 2020
81
6
314
Stupid woman has defamed herself with her racist email. Just ignore it, she wouldn't be silly enough to try & sue you surely. It's outrageous that she has approached your place of employment. I'm sorry you're having to deal with such a horrid person. You had every right to publish it. Perhaps she'll think twice next time!
 

John R

Well-Known Member
14 April 2014
689
173
2,394
Sydney
@Brambles - Under the Uniform Defamation Law, a person who alleges that you've "defamed them" first needs to set out the alleged defamatory imputations in a Concerns Notice for you to review and respond to. Has this occurred?