How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Patrick, Esq. Your Own Question
Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 12054
Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
60109343
Type Your Employment Law Question Here...
Patrick, Esq. is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I am considering a lawsuit against an ex-employee who has

Customer Question

I am considering a lawsuit against an ex-employee who has written nasty letters, disparaging me personally and the company., based in NJ.
He has sued me and my company for overtime pay, that we feel is not legitimate, however we are settling at considerable cost.
Can you recommend if this course of action is advisable ?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Good evening and thank you for entrusting me to assist you. My name is ***** ***** I will do everything I can to answer your question.

This would not typically be advisable for a number of reasons. For one, it is not illegal to say nasty or "disparaging" things, it is only illegal to make objectively false statements of fact to third parties. In that case, a claim for defamation would arise.

The thing with a defamation claim is that truth is an absolute defense. This means that whatever you are contending was false this employee will have the opportunity to prove in open court is true. This can be an extremely invasive process, and the lawsuit will be public record.

The next issue would be damages. It's not enough that a defamatory statement was made. You need to prove specific damages--those damages will be what you stand to recover through a civil lawsuit. Unless you have extremely specific damages (i.e. you lost a contract because of what was said), it just isn't going to be worth the time and money to sue.

Finally is the issue of judgment collection. Even if you could obtain a judgment against this employee it would be a judgment against the employee in their personal capacity, which they most likely will not be able to pay. A judgment is worth nothing unless you can actually collect.

The far better option wouldbe to negotiate a non-disparagement agreement INTO the settlement agreement for this employee's wage claims. That is actually standard practice in any wage claim settlement and if you had an attorney I would be slightly surprised if they have not already proposed this.

I hope that you find this information helpful. Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

If you do not require any further assistance, please be so kind as to provide a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you. Very best wishes moving forward.