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Northern California Employment Law Attorneys

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 the situation.

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.

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