A statement that someone is a bad employee, was late to work, failed to sell enough widgets, and so on is not the sort of false statement that indicates bad moral character. On the other hand, a statement that an employee stole money, sexually harassed another worker, or tells lies can cause lasting damage to a worker's character.In Texas, there is an additional element to prove defamation: malice. It is not enough that an employer makes a false and hurtful statement about an employee's character the employer must have done it with malice. To prove malice, you should be able to show anger, cruelty, or other facts that indicate that the employer was truly out to get you. Employers often defend themselves against accusations of malice by claiming they were exercising business judgment, made a mistake, or believed that they were acting in good faith. Finally, an employee must be able to show harm and damages arising from the defamatory statement. Hurt feelings probably are insufficient to show harms and damages. However, demotion, termination
, or failure to be hired at a new job can cause significant lost wages
and other economic damages.Sometimes, there does not have to be any tangible repercussions to constitute an act of employment defamation. In other words, if a false statement is so insulting that it cannot be misinterpreted, ensuing harm does not even need to occur for the victim to be defamed. In legal terms, these statements are referred to as “defamation per se.” Examples include phony claims of serious criminal mischief or sexual misconduct.