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greeneyze

harrassment by outside persons

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I am being sent harrassing emails and text messages from a disgruntled business owner who lives in a city where my newspaper writing has expressed opinions against his. He has sent me a threatening email as well as negative text messages via a number out of the state. This is the second negative text message I've received from this party's friends who live outside of California. What can I do. My employer read the email he sent me and just shrugged it off but I take these insults and threats seriously. What should I do?

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Guest FindLaw_Amir

If you are receiving threatening emails, then you may want to contact your local police department to address this issue.

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greeneyze said...

I am being sent harrassing emails and text messages from a disgruntled business owner. . . . This is the second negative text message I've received from this party's friends who live outside of California.

Ok, so we're talking about two text message and how many e-mails?

greeneyze said...

What can I do.

I'm sure you can do lots of things, including changing your mobile phone number and blocking e-mails from this bozo.

greeneyze said...

What should I do?

It's not really appropriate for a bunch of anonymous strangers who know almost nothing about the situation to be opining what you should do. You're obviously free to consult with a local attorney about: (1) whether your employer owes you any legal duty regarding these "threatening email [and] negative text messages;" and (2) whether you have any viable civil claim against the "disgruntled business owner."

By the way, and without intending to be insulting, I assume this is a relatively rinky-dink, small-town newspaper, since any newspaper of any size likely would have a policy for dealing with this sort of thing.

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One more thing. I assume your employer is a corporation or some entity of that sort that owns the newspaper. You said that your "employer read the email" (singular). I assume the person to whom you referred is your direct supervisor, but have you spoken with someone higher up in the company food chain and/or someone in human resources (if your employer has a HR department)? Also, does the fact that you only referred to "the email" mean there was only one email?

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My employer is a small privately owned business that has weekly newspapers in neighboring cities within the San Joaquin Valley. I showed him a nasty text message I received from this person in November (actually five or six messages). This was the first email I received from him that was threatening legal action against me for lying in my editorials. I severed all personal contact with the letter writers back in November. However, they have friends throughout the US and two of those friends have sent me nasty text messages from numbers I'm unfamiliar with. Unfortunately, the first set of text messages are gone once I got rid of my old cell phone and I have the one recent text message sent from Arkansas. Did a reverse phone look up but could not get a name. I've asked the sheriff's department to check out the number and still waiting for a reply as to their success.

This person who emailed me subjected me to drunken rants on the phone throughout 2011. I would just listen and say umm or something like that. Never giving my opinion on what he would be spouting about. This most recent letter was another drunken rampage attacking my character and business ethics. Threatening me with legal action for an editorial I wrote, which by the way the information was confirmed by the mayor that everything I wrote was factual. I've decided to ignore everything I receive from these two persons.

Thank you for your response. I appreciate it.

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There's nothing illegal about a threat of legal action. Obviously, you need to let your employer know about threats of legal action, but your employer is free to disregard them (esp. since CA law requires certain prerequisites before a newspaper can be sued for defamation).

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