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  • Writer's pictureShelly McLaughlin

Empowering Honesty: The Impact of Qualified Privilege in Workplace Investigations


The Safavi-Naini v Rubin Thomlinson LLP, 2023 ONCA 86 ruling brings a significant development for workplace investigators. Highlighting the doctrine of qualified privilege, this decision reassures investigators that they can conduct their duties honestly and

without the fear of defamation lawsuits, as long as their conduct is without malice.


Qualified Privilege Explained:

Qualified privilege serves as a legal safeguard, allowing individuals to make potentially defamatory statements without facing legal repercussions, provided these statements are made in good faith. This is vital in workplace investigations where sensitive issues are often addressed.


Safavi-Naini v Rubin Thomlinson LLP: A Case for Fair Reporting:

In this landmark case, the court recognized the need for investigators to provide unbiased and truthful opinions in their reports, considering these actions protected under qualified privilege, provided they are done without malice. This sets an important precedent, emphasizing the value of honesty and integrity in workplace investigations.


Implications for Investigators:

The ruling is reassuring for workplace investigators, confirming that their honest and objective findings, when expressed professionally, are protected. It encourages them to focus on conducting thorough, unbiased investigations, aiming to uncover the truth.


The Need for Transparent Investigations:

Transparent investigations are crucial in maintaining a healthy workplace. They ensure effective issue resolution, protect the rights of all involved, and uphold the integrity of the workplace. Qualified privilege plays a critical role in promoting a culture of honesty and accountability, ensuring that investigations are impartial and comprehensive.



The Safavi-Naini v Rubin Thomlinson LLP decision reinforces the importance of honest and unbiased investigations in the workplace. It highlights that qualified privilege not only protects investigators but also contributes to a fair and respectful work environment. This ruling is a reminder for employers of the necessity to engage skilled investigators who understand the nuances of qualified privilege and are committed to upholding the highest standards of ethical conduct. Overall, this decision enhances the culture of trust and accountability in the workplace.

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