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There seems to be a lot of hate sites up of former employees who have been ousted or faced the cutting block of the Great 21st Century Recession. These sites, while many might assume are illegal or slanderous in some way, are going on to live long and fruitful lives, courtesy of the internet. But are they legal? It’s a fine line, says A. Harrison Barnes, founder of It’s difficult to prove slander when the “art” is imitating “life” and in this case, life being CEOs and other head honchoes who find it acceptable to trample on employees on their greedy climb to world dominance – and more financial wealth than one can spend in ten lifetimes.

Does this mean there will be a new trend in lawsuits from the group of CEOs who are finding it difficult to face the light of day after being exposed? You know the ones we’re talking about – the Bernie Madoff’s of the world. Do they not have rights? And shouldn’t they be able to control the brutal things being said about them by former employees? Not so fast, says Barnes. If the things being said are factual, then the law will protect the truth. Most recently, a series of embarrassing and marriage-ruining billboards popped up across the country that included Charles Phillips, one half of the presidential team of Oracle. Turns out, it was a scorned mistress who grew tired of playing second fiddle to Phillips’ wife. This forced Phillips to confess all – both to his wife and a curious public. Incredibly, there are likely no legal repercussions for the mistress who proudly displayed a favorite photo of herself and her married boyfriend. A. Harrison Barnes says while it was distasteful, there wasn’t anything that’s been shown to be untruthful. In other words, Phillips has a lot of repairs to make to his marriage, if it even survives.

The law is based on facts and as long as the blogs, websites and billboards are based on fact, as well, they will likely withstand the scrutiny of the law. Still, many law firms advertise every day on sites such as the need for attorneys with experience in handling these public affairs nightmares. Even when the best a client can hope for is containing the damage, it can still spread like wildfire via the technologies we’re afforded in a contemporary time.

Others who have found their own names in big, bold lettering include of course, Bernie Madoff, former CEO Chuck Jett of the Emageon debacle who has redefined burning bridges and whose treatment of his employees will surely become front and center in the next, “What NOT to do if you’re CEO” bestseller and even Dickie Scruggs, the former lawyer responsible for the Hurricane Katrina, asbestos and cigarette lawsuits. He’s serving time in a federal prison – and you can be sure it’s a far cry from his Beach Boulevard property in Pascagoula, Mississippi.

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