Defamation in Employment Settings in Sacramento
Protecting Employees from Libel & Slander in the Workplace
Defamation is a lie that hurts someone’s reputation, regard in the
community, or profession. What might seem minor or a joke to the perpetrator
can be humiliating and debilitating for you. In fact, the little white
lie can cause a downward spiral of adverse consequences, including loss
of your job and damage to your family.
By fostering an environment that allows and even encourages defamation,
an employer may become liable for false statements made about you. Defamation
can do the following:
- Decrease productivity
- Cause emotional stress
- Create a hostile work environment
- Create tension among co-workers and supervisors
What Is Defamation?
Defamation is a written or spoken lie about a person that is communicated
to a third party and has caused injury to the person’s reputation or trade.
Written defamation (libel) can be:
- Published in a newspaper
- Printed on a flyer
- E-mailed to a listserv
- Posted on Facebook
- Texted to a group chat
Spoken defamation (slander) can be:
- Said over a conference call
- Shared at work happy hour
- Announced over the intercom
- Communicated at a meeting
Defamation must be false. The First Amendment gives individuals the freedom
to express their opinions, but once someone shares a lie, regardless of
how small, that lie can form the basis of libel or slander.
Most often, you suffer injury from the lie, including reputational damage.
If the lie caused someone’s opinion of you to change, you have suffered
injury. You can seek noneconomic damages such as for emotional distress.
However, because this is employment defamation, you may also suffer adverse
employment consequences such as being denied a promotion, demoted, or
terminated on the basis of the lie. If your ability to make money is harmed,
you can also seek economic damages.
What Do I Do if I Suffered Defamation at Work?
First, you should report the incident to human resources, the ethics committee,
or whichever department is responsible for the grievance process. If your
employer is unaware of the defamation, it cannot take steps to remedy
In addition, you should hire a dedicated and passionate California employment
law attorney to assist you with saving your reputation or business, defending
against the accusations, and seeking retribution against the perpetrator,
whether it’s a co-worker or your employer. Begin by gathering evidence
of the perpetrator spreading the lie to others, of the injury that the
lie caused you, and that shows that the statement was not the truth.
Call the Law Offices of Gay Carroll-Haring now at 916-443-3553 to
schedule your initial consultation.