Employee's Report to Human Resources is Protected by SLAPP Statute

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Always remember when reviewing a complaint to see if it is a potential SLAPP that the anti-SLAPP statute is not only about speech, it includes the "freedom of petition for the right of grievances", or simply the right of redress. Then, whenever you see that the defendant has complained to someone -- anyone -- consider whether that is a natural step one would pursue in seeking redress.

In the just reported case of Aber v. Comstock, an employee brought a claim against her employer and two of its employees for sexual assault. Comstock, one of the employees who Aber was suing, filed a cross-complaint against Aber for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Comstock's case was likely doomed from the start, because as I have already explained, suing someone for suing will almost always be a SLAPP, and he even alleged that part of the defamation was the report to the police, which is clearly protected. Specifically, Comstock alleged that Aber "orally published false statements about COMSTOCK to third parties, including but not limited to, friends, employees of Wolters Kluwer, health care practitioners, and the police." The court reviewed the law that applied to each of these statements, and the most interesting was the analysis of the statement Aber made to her employer's HR representative.

Were Aber's statements to the HR department protected under the SLAPP statute?

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