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Chris T., JD
Chris T., JD, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 3688
Experience:  Experienced in both state and federal court.
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If I owe a person money are they allowed to call my employer

Customer Question

If I owe a person money are they allowed to call my employer and tell them? This person called my employer and told them that they had a piece of equipment that that I left behind that belongs to the company that I work for. I do not remember leaving anything behind. They told my employer that he is keeping the equipment hostage until he is paid. Is he allowed to call my employer say things about me? Is this defamation of character? I may loose my job because of this... Any information would be greatly appreciated.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Chris T., JD replied 1 year ago.

TexLawyer :

Good evening. I'll be assisting you with your question.

TexLawyer :

Do you actually owe this person money?

Customer :

yes

TexLawyer :

OK. In order to win a defamation lawsuit, the thing said about you must be untrue. In other words, if you sue someone for defamation, they just have to prove that what they said was true, and they will win the suit.

TexLawyer :

Furthermore, it is not against the law for them to call your employer and tell them you owe money.

TexLawyer :

If I understand you correctly, however, they are claiming that they have a piece of equipment owned by your employer, and they will not return it until you repay them. Is that correct?

Customer :

that is true.

Customer :

i may be fired bc of this

TexLawyer :

That is not legal. They cannot legally hold someone else's property as collateral on a debt you owe.

TexLawyer :

Your employer may have to sue them for return of the property, but they have no legal claim to it.

Customer :

How do I proceed? Do I get a lawyer to stop this so I save my job? I have not talked to the person yet... I wanted to try and get some advice first.

TexLawyer :

The problem is that you don't have standing to sue them to return someone else's property (in this case, your employer's property). Only your employer can bring that suit. However, you can offer to reimburse your employer for the cost of an attorney.

TexLawyer :

Also, you can try to work something out with the person to whom you owe the money. If you can work out some sort of payment plan in exchange for return of the property.

Customer :

Also, I work for a drug store chain. He called a local store in my home town and told them about this... That store in turn sent an email to their boss who sent to their boss and so on until it finally made it to my boss. If that matters or not ...

TexLawyer :

That isn't really important to your legal situation.

TexLawyer :

So, it is not slander or otherwise illegal for them to tell your employer about this debt, but it is illegal for them to hold your employer's property as collateral for your debt.

Customer :

So, I can call anybody's employer and tell them stuff about their employees as long as it is true? and nothing will happen to me?

TexLawyer :

As long as it is true, yes. That type of speech would be protected by the 1st Amendment.

TexLawyer :

I'm sorry for the bad news - I'm sure it isn't what you were hoping for, but I have to do my best to give honest, straightforward advice.

Customer :

and if I am fired bc of the phone calls... nothing can be done about it..

TexLawyer :

It is not against the law for this person to inform your employer of the debt.

TexLawyer :

This person may have done something immoral and unfair, but that doesn't make is something that can form the basis of a lawsuit. What your employer does from there is up to them.

TexLawyer :

Again, I'm sorry for the bad news, but I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't provide honest answers - even if they aren't what you were hoping for.

TexLawyer :

Do you have any questions?

Customer :

sorry, i got called away.. i work a 2nd job. i have 2 kids in college n my wife is pretty sick.. so between college n doctor bills i need a 2nd job.

TexLawyer :

No problem.

Customer :

no i guess that is all.

TexLawyer :

OK. If I can't do anything else for you, please remember to "rate" my answer before you go. Again, I'm very sorry for the bad news.

Customer :

well i didnt want to sue him..i just wanted him to stop the calls to work. I thought if i could sue him for something then i could use that to stop him.

Customer :

thxs

TexLawyer :

Good luck. After you rate this answer, if you have any questions in the future, you can direct them to me here.

TexLawyer :

Is there something else I can do for you?

Expert:  Chris T., JD replied 1 year ago.
Our chat has ended, but you can still continue to ask me questions here until you are satisfied with your answer. Come back to this page to view our conversation and any other new information.

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Expert:  Chris T., JD replied 1 year ago.
I see that you've rated my service as "bad." If there is some other way I can help you, please let me know. Also, remember that the rating system is for my service and helpfulness, not whether or not the law was in your favor. I can only give a fair and honest assessment of the law, and it isn't fair to me to be punished because of what the law is.

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