Australian auto trimmer Michael Iskander was awarded $90,000 plus legal fees after suing his previous employer for defaming him in a Facebook post.
David Barcos, owner of BNB Autohaus in Melbourne, used his trim shop’s Facebook page to accuse Iskander of scamming a customer out of a deposit and lying about previously working there, according to Daily Mail.
Iskander sued, alleging the false allegations damaged his standing in the auto upholstery community. He said that his new shop, Luxe Automotive Interiors, suffered because of the lies.
But when Iskander’s day in court came, Barcos never showed up.
As a result, Judge Julie Clayton ruled in favor of Iskander. She said the Facebook post had to have been seen by “at least a few hundred people” after it received 93 reactions, 53 comments and 64 shares in the days after it was made, Daily Mail reported.
She also ruled that a screenshot of a bank transfer attached to the post as proof of Iskander’s alleged scam was fraudulent.
“I accept that some people within the custom upholstery community likely believed the allegations made by Mr. Barcos were true, and that this has likely had an impact on Mr. Iskander’s personal and business reputation,” Judge Clayton said.
In addition to the $90,000, Barcos was ordered to pay an additional $30,000 in legal fees.
“If you tell lies about someone else, you may be liable for defamation,” said Iskander’s lawyer, Matt Awad. “In this case, the financial consequences for the publisher are severe.”
In a Facebook post following the judgement, Iskander said he felt vindicated.
“So for anyone that saw BNB’s post last December, where David Barcos falsely claimed that I was scamming customers, stealing money and more. I just recently won the court case suing for defamation of character,” Iskander wrote.
“I truly believe that if you remain a good person at heart and do good to others, good things will happen to you,” he added. “But if you aren’t a good person and genuinely want to do harm to other people, these are the consequences.”