January 23, 2017

Legal Aspects of Business Communication

January 23, 2017

Ignorance of law is no excuse. We should be aware of all the laws regarding business communication. In business communication words should be chosen carefully. Any careless in selection of words may lead to legal action. When we apply integrity and Golden Rule in our communication we are legally safe.

Defamation, Invasion of Privacy, Fruad

There are some areas of caution in which communicator should be very careful to avoid any legal risk.

1. Defamation.

2. Invasion of privacy.

3. Fraud.

4. Other areas of caution.


Defamation is the act of harming the reputation of a person by making a false statement without consent and privilege. Defamation is the result of following:

a. Slander.
b. Libel.
c. Publication.
d. Privilege.

Slander: Oral defamation is slander.

Libel: Written defamation is libel.

Publication: The defamatory matter communicated to third person either intentionally or unintentionally is publication. For instance, if you tell a person privately that you consider him incompetent you are legally safe because only he has heard you. But if this statement is communicated in front of third person who is not privileged you may be subject to legal action.  

Privilege: It is a legal right to communicate defamatory information in certain situation. The privilege has to kinds.

a. Absolute privilege.
b. Conditional privilege.

Absolute privilege:  It is a particular right which enjoys by a person on his rank, position or nature. It is limited to the following areas.

a. Judicial proceedings.
b. Legislative proceedings.
c. The act of government officials.

Conditional privilege: Communication in good faith is not subject to legal action. Thus defamatory statements made in ordinary business activity are qualified privilege. For example, a person who replies an enquiry about the credit record of a customer is responsible to send accurate information. He must avoid intentional deceit. If he intentionally or negligently misleads the recipient (the person who seeks material about another person), he may be subject to legal action.

Defamatory terms: The following words should be avoided or used with caution when referring to a person or an organization. They are incomplete list but are enough to clear your concept. They have been judged libelous.

Defamatory Terms

Invasion of privacy

The intrusion to the personal life of an individual without consent and privilege is invasion of privacy. The Invasion of privacy has two aspects.

a. Use of a person’s identity.
b. Physical surveillance of records, reports and letters.

Use of a person’s identity: It is that invasion of privacy in which person’s name, photograph or other identity is used without permission. If you want to use other person’s photograph or other identity for your advertisement or sales letters then you first get permission from him and make it clear that how the picture or identity will be used.

Physical surveillance of records, reports and letters: The privacy may also be violated by unauthorized examination of record, reports and letters.


Fraud is an intentional misrepresentation of fact to persuade other party to enter into a contract. Both the seller and the buyer should be aware of the elements of fraud so that they can avoid fraudulent. The elements of fraud are given below.

a. False representation of fact.

b. Intend to deceive other party.

c. Knowledge of false statement.

d. Reasonable reliance by aggrieved party.

e. Resulting loss to aggrieved party.

Other area of Caution

a. Republishing of copyright material without the consent of copyright owner may cause a person liable to legal action.

b. Be honest and fair in business transactions.

c. Consult your attorney for complicated situation that may involve legal risks.

d. You should be aware of your legal responsibilities in other areas of caution.


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