The advert for a webinar about the fine line between acceptable litigation tactics and the criminal offence of blackmail caught my eye because of an experience late last year. A young assistant at another firm on my patch told us that his client wanted three times the amount that his former employer wasn’t obliged to pay him anyway or he’d pursue his complaint to the ICO that his demand for a copy of every single document with his name on or in it which would “cause your client a significant time and financial burden in order to comply with its obligations” had not been met.
Long story short – I told the lad’s supervising partner (who sprang to his cub’s defence like a pride male lion in his prime) that there was no prospect of any apology and that all offers were withdrawn. Ex-employee actioned his threat to complain to the ICO and was told that his request was manifestly unreasonable. It was satisfying to hear that the complaint had vaunted a copy of my letter mentioning “the B word”.
So, my attention focuses on an email warning that it’s easy to overstep the mark. I don’t feel I need the webinar but I’m interested enough to read the summary – in which I learn about “The Blackmail Act”.
No, me neither.
I care enough about these things to have mailed the course provider and asked for the date of this statute. Naturally that has exposed the fact that the law is still s21 Theft Act 1968, as it was before Christmas.
The seminar presenter will no doubt ‘explain’ the error. I bet there’ll be some who still won’t get rid of the idea that there’s some new legislation on the books (chance would be a fine thing). Many others who have read the emails advertising this educational event will now have it in their heads and be citing it to others, only a few of whom may know enough to ask “WTF?!”
A few months ago my early morning reading included this little gem. There isn’t actually any error of law here but just look at the spelling, grammar and general presentation from one of the industry’s leading legal library providers.
Yes, you’ve guessed it – Mr Angry wrote to them too. Nice letter just referred to the highlighted deficiencies and invited comment.
No “you’re right – that doesn’t meet the high standards our customers are entitled to expect of us and we’re sorry about this.”
Not even a “thanks for drawing that to our attention and we’ll investigate further”.
Why not? Are they too dumb to understand there’s a problem? Do they perhaps resent the fact that I’ve pointed out their inadequacy. Do they just not know what to do?
Whatever the explanation, it’s not good enough. At least the webinar providers came back to me within an hour or so to acknowledge the error and thank me for drawing attention to it.
The broader disturbing point is that the teachers seem to be incompetent. This is ultimately an ‘achievement’ of organisations who seem hell-bent on ripping standards down to the level of the only people who are prepared to work within those organisations and frankly wouldn’t have a clue what to do in the real world.
See you at the bottom. Or maybe not.