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TJ, Esq.
TJ, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 11626
Experience:  JD, MBA
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I am a truck driver. Today I was making a delivery

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I am a truck driver. Today I was making a delivery to a business. I showed up at lunch time. I was told that I would have to wait until after lunch before they would unload me. I pulled to the side of the building to wait. After lunch I was unloaded and left without incident. Almost two hours later I was informed by my supervisor that a complaint had been place against me for being rude and yelling at this customer and the customers in her shop (I did neither) and that I was speeding around her lot and around her $100,000 trucks (I wasn't). I know I cant prove I wasn't rude. However my truck has GPS and a computer. Upon returning to my terminal, I had a mechanic hook my truck to the computer and print out my speeds between 12:00pm-1:00pm and print out the results. The fastest recorded speed in her lot with the GPS plotting to prove times was 1.1185mph. Hardly speeding! If I am disciplined because of this lie, Would I have a defamation case? I should also add that the person making the complaint is the owner

Hello and thank you for allowing me the opportunity to assist you.

Q: If I am disciplined because of this lie, Would I have a defamation case?

A: Yes, you would have a defamation case if you are disciplined. Since you are likely an at-will employee, you would not likely have recourse against your employer for the unfair discipline, but you would have recourse against the person who lied about your driving.

In order to win a defamation lawsuit, you must prove that the person made false statements about you to a third party, and that your reputation was injured as a result. In this case, the person certainly made a false statement about you since you were not speeding around the parking lot. The false statement was made to a third party: your employer. And if you are disciplined, then that is evidence of injury to your reputation resulting from the false statements. Accordingly, based upon what you told me, and the evidence that you were not speeding, it sounds like you'd win a lawsuit.

Does that answer your question? Please let me know if you need clarification, as I am happy to continue helping you until you are satisfied. Also, your positive feedback is much appreciated. Thank you for using our service!

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

This letter of complaint unless totally dismissed will also go into my employee file at corporate level. I have been employed at my company for 15 years and have 21 years experience in the industry. I suffer from acute glaucoma and will eventually have to get out of the truck. If I were turned down for a management promotion based on this letter of complaint being in my file would I also have a case as opposed to outright termination (which I really don't think will happen to me)

Hello again. Thank you for your follow-up question.

Yes, if you were turned down for a management position due to the business owner's false statements about you, then that would be actionable (i.e., that would be reason to sue for defamation). You do not have to be terminated in order to prove injury to your reputation. The failure to get a management position would suffice, as would the failure to get any kind of promotion, raise, or other benefit at your job.

As an aside, it is often pointless to sue a person for defamation because most people wouldn't be able to pay a judgment. But in this case, since the person in question is a business owner, she likely has substantial assets (such as the business itself) that can be used to pay a judgment.

I truly wish you luck. Please let me know if you have additional questions.
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