Employment Law Questions? Ask an Employment Lawyer.
Slander in the workplace can lead to a lot of unpleasantness and an employee’s reputation being irreparably damaged. If you have ever faced slander in your work environment and not known what to do about it, you are bound to have questions about fairness, your rights and the provisions of the law to protect you in such situations.
Listed below are a few slander-related questions answered frequently by Experts.
If you would like to sue someone for slander, you need to first prove that a verbal statement was made to a third party. Then, that the statement was false. Thirdly, that the person making the statement knew or should have known it was false. And finally, that the statement adversely affected the reputation of the person it was about. If you can prove all of this, then you can sue for slander. However, honest personal opinion cannot be considered slander.
Case Details: I work in New Jersey. I spoke to the management about it but wonder if I can legally do something about it?
In New Jersey, the law against discrimination does not allow for harassment or discrimination at the workplace based on an employee’s sexual orientation. From what you have described, your colleagues seem to be harassing you based on the perception that you are a homosexual. If your management has not taken steps to address this issue, you could file a complaint against them with the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights. More information is available at: http://www.nj.gov/oag/dcr/filing.html.
There is also a possibility that you could have a defamation claim against your coworkers. But harm done to your reputation is usually difficult to prove, and you might find it hard to hire a lawyer who would be ready to take on a case like yours on a contingency fee basis.
Case Details: I am a registered nurse for an agency in Florida, working at this hospital for a year with a clean record. Now, two doctors are making complaints to the Director of Nursing saying my appearance is unkempt, I rendered poor quality care, I lacked professionalism, and that I behaved poorly towards them. I have never even met or conversed with one of the complaining doctors. The other denied making a complaint. I have been forbidden to work here anymore.
In this case, since it doesn’t look like one doctor could have filed a complaint and the other one denies having done so, you might have a claim for defamation against the Director of Nursing. If you do this, the truth of what actually happened might come out.
Unfortunately, the state you are in is an employment “at will” state, which essentially means that you can be terminated for almost any reason. A few exceptions would include discrimination based on factors like age, race, gender, disability, religion, national origin, or filing a workers’ compensation claim. Therefore, it is most unlikely that you could file for wrongful termination unless there was an employment contract in place.
You could consult with a local employment lawyer to view your case properly and help you file a defamation suit at the minimum.
Additional Question: Is there a time limit for the filing?
You can almost certainly file a lawsuit if defamatory comments were made against you. This would involve proving that false statements were made against you that caused injury. You have a one-year time frame to file suit.
Proving slander in the workplace requires specific proof points in order to legally establish and win a case. Getting Expert insights into your particular situation is one of the ways to determine the best course of action available to you.
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