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Richard, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 55711
Experience:  32 years of experience practicing law and a businessman.
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I work at a Catholic hospital. I have been bullied and treated

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I work at a Catholic hospital. I have been bullied and treated badly for most of my employment there, but have never cared as I love caring for patients and am very good at it. I have been given a performance evaluation that is simply horrible. During the evaluation, a very defamatory e-mail that alledges extremely unprofessional behavior and is entirely false; this was used as "evidence" for the assessments on the evaluation. The evaluation is entirely subjective, and imputes that I am unfit to be licensed or to work in this field because of my "defensive attitude"- I have never been rude or "defensive" and have only been persistent in voicing my opinion or concerns when I felt a patient would suffer if I did not. I also once asked my boss to "please not use this tone of voice with me" because she snaps at me, snatches papers from my hands, rolls her eyes, and otherwise treats me in a humiliating way in front of coworkers and students who she then expects me to provide instruction to, and who are disrespectful to me, following her lead. I have been told that my "clinical judgement is impaired" because of my "defensive attitude"- I have applied for medical school and this type of assessment will definitely prevent me from attending. I did obtain a number of rebuttals to this evaluation, essentially engaging in "self-defamation" until I just couldnt bear the humiliation and feel that to have received such an evaluation taints my professionalism with hospital staff, no matter how supportive they might have been. I also, at one time, asked for a "reasonable accomodation" in those exact words, so as to prevent my boss and some sychophantic coworkers from criticising my work when they are doing nothing themselves- this "accomodation" was also used against me during the evaluation, in writing. The evaluation was blatant overkill, designed to get a "defensive" reaction from me; fortunately, I have had a therapist whom I began seeing in order to deal with this type of hostility document carefully what was occurring at my job, because I was fairly sure the defamatory e-mail would come into play, absent any investigation as to its veracity, and this is precicely what occurred. My physician had given me papers to file for FMLA for work-related anxiety and depression, and following the evaluation, I immediately went out on leave- within the hour. I have been incredibly depressed- I love my work and should this assessment remain on record, I could very well lose my state license. The evaluation also stated that I "do not work within the mission, values, and ethics" of the hospital- this is just the most horrible and unfounded libel I can imagine anyone inflicting on me- it insults my religion and my values. I plan to drive 200 miles to meet with the EEOC, but tell me, how do I fight this?

Good evening. I understand how this would be deeply offensive and make you want to consider what options are available to you. You certainly appear to have an action for defamation.


Let me explain what defamation is and then you can make the determination whether or not it is something you wish to pursue. I will also at the end of this summary help give you some additional direction.


I am going to provide you information on both slander and libel since they are so closely related and so often confused with each other.


Both involve the communication of false information about a person, group or entity. Libel is any defamation that can be seen....writings, printing, effigy, movie or statue. Slander, is any defamation that is spoken and heard.


They are civil injuries that harm reputation, cause a reduction in respect, regard or confidence, or cause disparaging, hostile or disagreeable opinions or feelings against an individual or entity.


The laws regarding libel and slander are the same.


To prevail in a suit for libel or slander and recover damages, you must prove 4 things: (i) the defendant conveyed a defamatory message they knew or should have known to be false; (ii) the material was published (i.e., conveyed to someone other than you); (iii) you can be identified as the the person referred to in the defamatory material; and (iv) you suffered an injury to your reputation as a result of the communication., since you are short on funds, I recommend you go to your closest law school and request to be directed to their legal clinic...most law schools have them. They are run by students, yet supervised by professors. They should be happy to handle this for you on a pro bono basis because it will be such a good learning experience for the students. The first step will be to write these folks a certified return receipt requested letter demanding they immediately remove all prior defamatory statements and materials in your files and cease and desist in any future defamatory actions. Inform them if they do not do so, you will have no choice but to file a defamation suit against them, seeking an injunction against future acts and damages for all prior actions.



I hope this has given you the guidance you were seeking. I wish you the best of luck!


If you have a follow-up question, please remember that there might be a delay between your follow up questions and my answers because I may be helping other clients or taking a break.


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The information given here is not legal advice. As all states have different intricacies in their laws, the information given is general only. This communication does not establish an attorney-client relationship with you. I hope this answer has been helpful to you.

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