This discussion's prompted by this post, that I needed to censor, about a restauranteur who had exploited my son badly, illegaly. I named him in the post and recommended people avoid his restaurant.

Poor old James, who has to take legal responsibility for SFN, had to get me to edit it and the discussion tumbled from caterpillars on salad and recomending restaurants, into what is and isn't libelous.

So, is this correct?

Legally, in order to name M.*****, do I need to make an official complaint, take him to court first and get him prosecuted, and THEN I can give his name as the person responsible for the exploitation, but if I do it out of court before the court has decided, it counts as deformation of character?

If this is so, it's really interesting, because I have been trying to find a good reason to persuade my son that he really needs to be prosecuted.

thanks Nic

I havn't seen many that don't sell alcohol. Except sandwich bars, etc. Yes my son's resto did, but serving it was not his task, so I assume it's legal. Cheque emploi was not applicable. His contract was drawn up via the Maison de Formation, where he learns his academic and practical theory officially, and the Chambre de Commerce. The employer them pays the apprentice directly by cheque.

His new employers, I have to say, are great. They pay properly, on time and they never let him work outside the legal hours. They are vary firm with him, which is great because he needs extra support and guidance being so young yet so independent. He loves to party a bit too much occasionaly, but not more than any normal ado:)

his new place is Caribou Café, Poitiers ****

I COULD have proved it...the bank statements and the paid credits of goods to the restaurant where proof. But on top of that the place was always busy in the last 2

years. I think that it is mean to print something like that which is not true.

Can I ask if the restaurant sells alcohol to it's clients?

Can I be advised on a legal point by someone.

What is the age limitation on employing young people in

a liscenced premises.

I would think that there is one.

Was remuneration made by Cheque empoi?

VERY important details to observe.

thanks Cate, yes the Inspection de Travail is already involved and the good news is, that since this discussion appeared, my son is also agreeing that we can make an official complaint.

What a crazy world it is.

Slander is spoken, libel is written. If it wasn't true and you could prove it, then you would probably have had a case. Very costly things, though, libel cases. But you could have demanded the paper print a grovelling apology and give it the same prominence as the original article.

Not sure what slander is exactly but when we sold our restaurant in London

a journalist....who, by the way was a frequent customer printed in the Evening

Standard an article and said that we sold the restaurant because we were not doing well

financially. This was totally untrue...As for more than a year before we sold our buisness it

began to blossom and we were full almost all the time.

Is this slander? Or the sign of a journalist trying to be sensational in his own way?

In fact, over the last few months we have established a strong admin team who deal with many of the day to day issues, allowing us to leave the office now and again!

Thank you admin team!

Thanks Brian. The laws that were broken by my sons employer are all set out clearly in the directives about minors and apprentiships. The maison de travail have already offered to help us prosecute and have promised an investigation anyway, but there is little anyone can do if my son refuses to be a witness. He sees it as more trouble and not part of the long term solution. He has enough problems trying to cope with split shifts, a teenage party atmosphere in his appartment, living by himself 25k away on 335euro.

For example, this month he will have no wages, because it took a month to find a new apprentiship after he quit the exploitative one, and he hasn't had enough time at the new place, to work to make up for the big summer holiday that all the employees have just had. He's been late for college and falling behind at work and is now at risk of loosing his job because he's too tired all the time. I've taken him food parcels but its not enough. I told him to use the mission local, but he's a teenager and he doesnt want to do it. End of tether time. :(

Don't think so, Jo, as SFN are still the publishers of blogs that appear on the site. Only if you set up your own blog separate from SFN would you (or anyone else) be the sole person held responsible. And even then I suspect someone feeling really vindictive could have a go at your ISP or any web service you use as a host for your blog/web site. Cans of worms come to mind.

Jo, take a look at

From there on in it is a lot of looking, but try under 'hazardous work' which kitchen work often falls under in IPEC terms.

Don't worry Jo, if I have to go to the loo I take the iPad ;) Cue toilet jokes...

Jo - wish you the very best of luck in that. People's rights and their freedom must be defended.

Bon courage

He is under 18 and still subject to child labour laws internationally, if he is doing what you say it is but a gnat's whisker away from a modern form of slavery. Look at the ILO's site and trawl through child labour legislation and agreements and it is France who get it in the neck, not the employers. But then, tell me a country where they are playing by the rules...

ps, I have to go out now, but am worried, James, how do you ever get to leave the office?

I totally understand James's need for censorship. It's to keep SFN out of it, basically, because people may try to sue SFN aswell as a poster, to defend their reputation and a disclaimer might not be enough to prevent it from going ahead, even if the libel turned out to be a truism.

So in blogs on, SFN, do the authors get to take more personal responsibility legally ? ie is it going to be legally different from posts?

James can you afford to be more relaxed and ever sit down with a cuppa tea ? In fact, when do you sleep?

Thanks Cate. The link didn't work, but it seems clear what you were saying about libel in France being slightly easier to proove and harder to defend than elsewhere.

Re my own case, I think if I choose to go to court, it will not be anything to do with libel, though, because the restauranteur has broken laws protecting minors and we have quite a lot of evidence. I think the Maison de Travail will be either helping, or doing the prosecuting on our behalf if we choose to make a legal complaint about what happened.

The libel discussion on SFN is very useful to me as it gives me the added argument with my son (who is 17 and cares for little else but how to party on 335 euros per month apprentice wages) to get him to agree to prosecuting his old boss for everything he had to go through. He, like many victims, just wants to forget it and move on. I, like many parents, want recompense for the sleeplessness, expense, worry and illness we all had to endure when he was going through it all and I would love to see him unable to do the same to some other poor kid and their family.

;-) ;-)!!