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Workplace Slander Laws

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.

How do I go about suing a company for slander?

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.

Does it classify as slander if co-workers spread rumors about me being gay?

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.

What legal action can a nurse take if doctors make slanderous comments about her?

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.

Can I go file charges against my previous employer if slander and defamation from the previous job causes problems in the present job?

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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Recent Slander Questions

  • Thank you in advance. I have sent a complaint to my HR dept.

    Thank you in advance. I have sent a complaint to my HR dept. because for the last 2 months, I hear many coworkers talking about a certain employee and how she is going to get fired. I have not been included in the conversations but I do hear them. This has caused alot of stress and anxiety for me because since I'm not included, I think they are talking about me. Some of what they talk about appears to pertain to me but it may be coincidental. Management is not doing anything to stop it and they seem to be working together to get the person fired.
    I have been keeping a diary of what I have heard and I emailed HR some examples but without giving names or dates. I explained all of this chatter is causing stress and anxiety and management should have stopped this a long time ago. HR now wants names and dates and they don't see how all of this is causing me stress. Needless to say, it appears that they still have not fired this person but there is still talk about it.
    Shouldn't HR do the investigation without me providing the names? I do not feel comfortable in providing that information. I also didn't like how she didn't understand how hearing such comments would cause stress. Is this a typical reaction from HR or am just too sensitive. Should I provide the names and dates or can this backfire on me and I could be sued for slander?
    Thank you for your time!
  • I wrote a review on glass door about my former employer once

    I wrote a review on glass door about my former employer once they saw it I received a letter from them saying the following. I removed my posting (that was my review) but he is threati go to ruin me. I have documentation also from him stating I was a good employee and he's sad to see me go. Is this slander if he bad mouths me?
    Here is his letter:
    Hi Jim,
    I read your review on glass door and respectfully ***** ***** you remove it.
    Your post will cause severe harm to my company. I’m truly sorry the experience was horrible for you. Perhaps we both made a mistake. I have my own comments I could say about your attitude, worth ethic, your ability to lead, your skills and more. I choose not to tell other people in Cleveland about this but I will, and loudly, if the post remains. There are websites for employers as well.
    Yes, we can do better, but negative comments such as the one about insurance only show how ill prepared you were as that was explained to you in advance.
    I urge you to remove your post so we can both move on peacefully.
    Sincerely,
    Jimmy
  • My daughter was just hired into a nursing unit I used to work

    My daughter was just hired into a nursing unit I used to work in. The head nurse and charge nurse recently told her "Let me tell you about a mistake your mama made once..." and procedeed to tell her the medicine mistake I did make several years ago. No harm came to the patient, thank God. The pharmacy had put the IV fluids in the wrong bins and in an emergency another nurse handed me a bag of medication to hang and I did without double checking. It was the wrong medication and thankfully caused no harm. Both the other nurse and I were considered the "experienced nurses" and the mistake was surprising o us both. Under nonemergency conditions we would have both double checked the bag.
    This comment to my daughter from these two nurses wasn't said in a teaching conversation but rather in a what I'm sure they intended to be a lighthearted gossiping conversatoin. My daughter wasn't impressed with either of them thankfully. She asked me why they would tell her that story and would that be considered slander? We are in Louisiana. Since I did make a medication error and that part of the story was true I don't think it is considered slander. I don't think this falls under HIPAA. I do beleive it was said with malice even if under the guise of humor. I am still employeed with this hospital and still work in conjunction with all of Nursing not just this unit. My question is do I have any legal recourse since this could be damaging to my reputation in my new position. My new position puts me in front of all Nurses at different times and I do need their respect. I'd like to know my options before I say anything to them about it. Thank you, ***** *****
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