The Boss and His Subordinate: A Tale Of Workplace Fraternizing Turned Defamatory

workplace defamation case
A NY businessman lost a defamation lawsuit against a former employee and alleged paramour.

In the not too distant past, a woman named Hanna Bouveng and her then-boss Benjamin Wey crossed a professional line. Gifts were given; apartments were allegedly financed; then things changed, and corporeal advances were supposedly spurned. In the end, Wey fired Bouveng.

Soon, disparaging statements about Bouveng started showing up on Wey’s blog. In retaliation, Bouveng filed a lawsuit – claiming various defamation and harassment violations. In the end, a jury awarded Bouveng $18 million.

Bouveng v. Wey Defamation Case Basics

Plaintiff: Hanna Bouveng, who describes herself on LinkedIn as being in “Corporate Communications, Marketing, PR”

Defendant: Benjamin Wey, CEO New York Global Group

Venue: Manhattan Federal Court

Why did Bouveng sue Wey: Essentially, Bouveng believed her firing was a product of sexual harassment and retaliation. She also argued that Wey’s blog posts – which allegedly referred to her as a “street walker” and a “loose woman” who engaged in “mafia style shakedowns” – were defamatory. Her side also argued that Wey used his position of power to coerce Bouveng into a prurient relationship.

Wey’s Defense: In response to Bouveng’s charges, Wey claimed that Bouveng’s lawsuit was an extortion attempt and insisted she was fired for substandard work. During the trial, Wey’s lawyer admonished that “both sides behaved badly.” Team Wey also acquiesced that the finance boss had “diarrhea of the keyboard” and acted inappropriately, but maintained that his actions did not amount to the charges.

Jury Decision: Though Bouveng had originally asked for over $500 million, the jurors awarded her $18 million, as they only granted the defamation and retaliation claims.

Interesting Post Script: Wey is currently being sued for defamation by another party in an unrelated lawsuit. Georgetown University law professor Christopher Brummer says, “Wey waged an online smear campaign against him in retaliation for an adverse ruling from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.” ( Bouveng v. NYG Capital LLC et al, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, No. 14-cv-5474.)

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Update: After losing the defamation case against Bouveng, Wey once again took to his online outlet to share views on the decision. In his rant, Wey allegedly called Bouveng’s attorneys “crooks” and deemed one of them a “midget.” So, now the two lawyers are suing Wey. You can read more about it here.

Consult With A Professional Defamation Lawsuit

Kelly Warner maintains an active professional defamation legal practice and routinely handles cases involving former employees and partnership disputes. To learn more about our firm, please visit our primary website, here. If you’re ready to speak with an attorney, contact us.

Post Sources

Badia, E., & Slattery, D. (2015, June 26). Wall Street CEO behaved badly but isn’t stalker, lawyer says. Retrieved July 27, 2015, from http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/wall-street-ceo-behaved-badly-isn-stalker-lawyer-article-1.2273087

Khan, M. (2015, June 30). US: Wall Street investment banker wins £11m in sexual harassment case. Retrieved July 27, 2015, from http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/us-wall-street-investment-banker-wins-11m-sexual-harassment-case-1508706

Ax, J. (2015, June 29). UPDATE 2-N.Y. financier ordered to pay ex-employee $18 mln in harassment case. Retrieved July 27, 2015.