ScottyMacEsq : Thank you for using JustAnswer. I am researching your issue and will respond shortly.
Customer: Thank you
ScottyMacEsq : I'm sorry to hear about your situation. I understand that difficult coworkers can be near impossible to work with, and it's unfortunate when they treat you this way, blaming you for things that are clearly not your fault. "Harassment" has different definitions in the law, and different applicability depending on the statute in question. Under Federal and state employment laws, harassment is specifically limited to harassment based on race, age, gender, religion, or disability. For criminal and civil harassment under state law, it would have to be actions that cause or threaten to cause physical damage, injury, etc... Lies such as this (although despicable) would not be harassment because they are not directed toward you, and also don't put you in fear of your physical safety.
ScottyMacEsq : Then there's defamation:
ScottyMacEsq : Defamation requires a false statement of material fact, that causes identifiable and proveable harm.
ScottyMacEsq : Now the problem here is that you would have to prove, specifically and quantifiably, how you were injured as a result of the defamatory statement.
ScottyMacEsq : If you lost your job because of this, then that could be such actual quantifiable harm to sue.
ScottyMacEsq : The only other possibility is "intentional infliction of emotional distress: In order for a claim of Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress to succeed, a person must be able to prove all of the elements. The elements are:1) The defendant must have acted intentionally or recklessly2) The defendant’s conduct was extreme and outrageous3) The plaintiff suffers severe emotional distress as a result of defendant’s conduct4) The defendant’s act is the cause of such distress
ScottyMacEsq : But for that cause of action to stand, you would need to prove "extreme and outrageous" conduct (conduct that no jury could say is acceptable in society) as well as sever emotional distress (which means you pretty much need to show physical manifestations of that stress, that can be testified to by medical professionals.
ScottyMacEsq : Lost sleep, anxiety, etc... that a professional would testify is the direct result of the extreme and outrageous actions of the defendant.
ScottyMacEsq : Ultimately numbers 2 and 3 are the most difficult elements, and this claim hardly ever succeeds. It's often used as an "alternative" cause of action if the main ones don't work, and it's really only in extreme cases where that cause of action is successful.
ScottyMacEsq : Unfortunately, at this time I don't think that you would have any recourse against these individuals. I would suggest that you document all the instances that you're wrongly blamed for something, etc... and if you're terminated for it, you can establish that it was not your fault (for purposes of unemployment) and the possibility of a defamation lawsuit against the individuals that defamed you.
Customer: Would I be liable for anything if I confronted the three other employees there with the information that the customer told me?
Customer: I might shut her up for a bit
ScottyMacEsq : No, you wouldn't be "liable" for anything, as this is relating what someone else told you, and it does not pertain to any "protected health information" that could otherwise be private under HIPAA. Your employer still might take their side on this matter, but you would not be "liable" to them or your employer for confronting them with this information.
Customer: Ok. Thank you for the information.
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