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Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 41221
Experience:  I provide employment and discrimination law advice in my own practice.
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One of my employees just filed a complaint to HR about me stating

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One of my employees just filed a complaint to HR about me stating the scheduling was not fair. We have an open door policy but the employee did not go to my boss. Can I call the HR dept and complain about defamation of my character?
Thank you for your question. Please permit me to assist you with your concerns.

My apologies but why do you feel it as defamation? What specifically did the person say about you that is somehow untrue?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
This person got the best schedule so far and it's in black and white but my boss just told me HR dept was called 3 times. She just stated "scheduling" but I don't know exactly what the complaint was about. Can I call my HR dept and find out the complaint made against me?

Thank you for your follow-up, Debbie.

"Defamation of character" is is a situation where someone makes a false statement of or about you to third parties that causes you to have damages, specifically financial damages. The ultimate defense to any defamation claim is truth. Another defense to defamation is 'opinion'. If someone feels that they have an unfair schedule, that is not a defamatory statement because it is ultimately their opinion. This is why I do not see defamation as necessarily actionable here, at least so far. Until you know more, there is as yet no basis to resort to lawsuits. As for asking the employer, this is currently their internal investigation and they have no legal obligation to inform you of their findings. They can choose to inform you, so it does not hurt to ask, but HR does not have to tell you the details of the complaint until they are ready to do so.

Good luck.

Dimitry K., Esq. and 2 other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I do not want this situation to be swept under the rug. So far, my boss said she will call me back after mentioning "intimidating" to me. I have not seen this employee so far but wants this matter resolve so there are no more complaints about my character. I feel my job is on the line yet I did nothing wrong.

Thank you for your follow-up, Debbie.

I can understand that, and approve of your vigilance. But if I may be somewhat contrary, it may be wise to have HR evaluate this first. Coming on too aggressive can be read as 'intimidating' and may become a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy for you. This is a situation where letting HR evaluate first is safer and better because if HR merits there is nothing wrong, there is nothing further for you to do, but if you push for a response and HR may consider some legitimate grievance, they would be pushed for a decision, and a negative decision potentially in your favor.

Good luck.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for that, I will leave it alone until I hear from my boss or HR. I spoke with my partner & an associate about this issue & I thrust they will not say anything but I should have kept it to myself. Would HR penalize me for this if they find out? It was the truth about the scheduling & nothing more.

Thank you for your follow-up, Debbie.

My apologies but penalize you for what, for discussing this with your superior? That is not a disciplinary offense, it is simply your attempt to get information, and that is not really a violation.

Good luck.

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