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Can i sue a hotel for wrongfully accused of harrassment?

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not2cleverRed

Obvious Observer
So it does not look like I should pursue any action? Would I have to have the surveillance video subpoena'd by an attorney?

Thanks again for the help!
Here's the thing: what if the surveillance video shows that the server was groped/harassed by someone who looks similar to you, and it was an honest mistake?
 


quincy

Senior Member
Here's the thing: what if the surveillance video shows that the server was groped/harassed by someone who looks similar to you, and it was an honest mistake?
Then the video would not be used by shahn to support his claim.

An honest mistake potentially can be used as a defense to the publication of a defamatory statement. Fault amounting to at least negligence is an element of a defamation claim that must be proved by the plaintiff.

Negligence is the lack of ordinary care one would expect to be exercised by a reasonably prudent person in a similar situation.
 

not2cleverRed

Obvious Observer
Then the video would not be used by shahn to support his claim.

An honest mistake potentially can be used as a defense to the publication of a defamatory statement. Fault amounting to at least negligence is an element of a defamation claim that must be proved by the plaintiff.

Negligence is the lack of ordinary care one would expect to be exercised by a reasonably prudent person in a similar situation.
Thank you.

I think it's worth it for OP to realize that it is possible that an honest mistake was made, and that there was no malice involved in OP being singled out.

OP should consider non-legal (i.e. non-lawsuit) options as well. For example, if OP can show that this was a case of mistaken identity, OP can try and see if the hotel might find a way to "apologize" for the inconvenience - reimbursing OP for hotel costs, for example. OP can apologize to the colleagues for the abrupt departure due to the mistaken identity and make a joke of it - along the lines of "You know how it is, all [whatever featured the miscreant vaguely had in common with OP] look alike."
 

Taxing Matters

Overtaxed Member
I do not see the staff's response as justified, based on what you have said here.
I'll disagree a little bit. The security staff was responding to a complaint of either improper touching or harassment of an employee. If that complaint were accurate I believe that removing the offender from the premises is totally appropriate. The OP says it was not true, and even assuming that's correct I think security was acting properly in taking the server at his word as to what happened. So I don't find fault with security here. The fault, if there is any, would be with the server if he got it wrong. His perception of events may simply differ from the OP's. As the server is also a hotel employee the hotel would still be liable under the principle of respondeat superior so the distinction I'm making wouldn't bar the OP's claim. But I think the OP, should it go to court, may not want to make the security people the bad guys here. The security staff does have a responsibility to protect other employees as well as guests of the hotel.
 

quincy

Senior Member
I'll disagree a little bit. The security staff was responding to a complaint of either improper touching or harassment of an employee. If that complaint were accurate I believe that removing the offender from the premises is totally appropriate. The OP says it was not true, and even assuming that's correct I think security was acting properly in taking the server at his word as to what happened. So I don't find fault with security here. The fault, if there is any, would be with the server if he got it wrong. His perception of events may simply differ from the OP's. As the server is also a hotel employee the hotel would still be liable under the principle of respondeat superior so the distinction I'm making wouldn't bar the OP's claim. But I think the OP, should it go to court, may not want to make the security people the bad guys here. The security staff does have a responsibility to protect other employees as well as guests of the hotel.
I accept your disagreement but I think the matter could have been handled far better by the hotel staff. Reputations are too valuable to treat them recklessly.
 

quincy

Senior Member
Thank you.

I think it's worth it for OP to realize that it is possible that an honest mistake was made, and that there was no malice involved in OP being singled out.

OP should consider non-legal (i.e. non-lawsuit) options as well. For example, if OP can show that this was a case of mistaken identity, OP can try and see if the hotel might find a way to "apologize" for the inconvenience - reimbursing OP for hotel costs, for example. OP can apologize to the colleagues for the abrupt departure due to the mistaken identity and make a joke of it - along the lines of "You know how it is, all [whatever featured the miscreant vaguely had in common with OP] look alike."
There are often better ways to deal with incidents than to sue. I think a lawsuit should always be the last option considered.
 

quincy

Senior Member
More than likely that's exactly what it was. Witnesses make mistakes in identification - it happens more often than you think.
The harm to one's reputation is the same, mistake or not.

What needs to be evaluated is if the mistake is one that a reasonably prudent person would have made under the same circumstances.
 

Eekamouse

Senior Member
If there were security cameras, wouldn't that show who did the touching? Did the security people review it before they asked OP to leave the bar?
 

quincy

Senior Member
If there were security cameras, wouldn't that show who did the touching? Did the security people review it before they asked OP to leave the bar?
shahn12 wants the security cameras for that reason, to show he did not touch or harass the server.

It is likely there was not time to view videos before approaching shahn.
 

cbg

I'm a Northern Girl
I still say that shahn12 needs some evidence that his reputation HAS been harmed before he has a valid lawsuit. If a single unproved instance is enough to "damage his reputation" how good was it to begin with? If no one believed what was said, he's got no damages. He doesn't get to sue because maybe there'll be some feedback in future.
 

quincy

Senior Member
I still say that shahn12 needs some evidence that his reputation HAS been harmed before he has a valid lawsuit. If a single unproved instance is enough to "damage his reputation" how good was it to begin with? If no one believed what was said, he's got no damages. He doesn't get to sue because maybe there'll be some feedback in future.
Evidence will be needed but Florida is a state with "per se" defamation. Once a plaintiff shows that false words were published about him, proof of harm will not always be necessary. Some statements presume harm.

In Florida, per se defamation would include statements that falsely accuse someone of committing a crime, of having a mental illness or "loathesome" disease, of having questionable morals (e.g., being unchaste), or of being incompetent or dishonest or unethical in one's trade, occupation or profession.

Damages can be awarded on this presumed injury (although damages awarded on presumed injury alone tend to be nominal).

I don't know that shahn can easily support a defamation claim. He would need to discover who the server is, what exactly the server said to hotel security (and why) and he would want witnesses. He would need to show negligence. And he would want some demonstrable damages to make pursuing a claim worthwhile.
 

quincy

Senior Member
What makes injury to a reputation so harmful is that it is hard to see and hard to heal. Once someone has been accused falsely, there often remains in people's minds some lingering doubts about the person.

Shaun's peers and clients may forever see him being escorted out of the hotel, even when they no longer recall the incident that led to it.
 

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