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LawTalk, Attorney
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 37855
Experience:  I have 30 years of experience in the practice of law, including employment law and discrimination law.
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I have been wrongfully accused of having an affair with my

Resolved Question:

I have been wrongfully accused of having an affair with my supervisor in my workplace. The accusation came from a former employee, who sent emails to current employees, alleging the affair. Since then, my reputation at work has been compromised. There are a number of people who believe the rumor to be true despite my best efforts to combat the rumor. I even met with my HR director to document the false allegations to protect myself against any unfair treatment in the future. Since then, work has been difficult due to the way people are treating me because of their false perceptions/belief that I had an affair with my supervisor. Even the head of the entire department contacted the supervisor who I am accused of having an affair with and stated that "there are a number of people who believe you had an affair with your employee. I even had a child born from an affair with the employee in the past, and I love them and raised them, so no one knows better than me what it is like to have an affair with an employee." His answer implied to me that even the head of my department BELIEVED that the affair was real. My character has been defamed, and I don't feel like my job is doing anything to protect me against it. What should I do?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  LawTalk replied 5 years ago.
Good morning,

I'm sorry to hear of your dilemma.

Such an allegation---when untrue---will constitute actionable defamation, and you may sue the party responsible for spreading the false allegations.

From a legal standpoint, defamation is the issuance of a false statement about another person, which causes that person to suffer harm.

1. Slander typically involves an oral (spoken) representation.
2. Libel involves the making of defamatory statements in a printed or fixed medium, such as the internet, a magazine or newspaper.

In order to win a defamation case, you must prove the following:

  1. A false statement was made about an individual, generally yourself;
  2. The statement was made to a third party;
  3. If the defamatory matter is of public concern, (for example if you are a famous person) fault amounting at least to negligence on the part of the publisher.
  4. Finally, you must show that you have suffered damages.
Get yourself a local Personal Injury attorney and file suit against the person(s) responsible.

I wish you the best this holiday season.

Because I help people here, like you, for a living---this is not a hobby for me, and I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX abiding by the honor system as regards XXXXX XXXXX I wish you and your family the best in your respective futures.

Would you be so kind as to Accept my Answer so that I may be compensated for assisting you? Bonuses for greatly informative and helpful answers are very much appreciated. Thanks Again,


Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I have a question regarding my workplace. While the person initially responsible for defaming me is the person who sent the emails, is anyone at my workplace responsible for defaming me if they perpetuate the rumor? If they believe it to be true and speak with other people about it "legitimacy," does this hold them responsible to any defamation of character? In addition, there was an incident where one supervisor openly defamed me to another supervisor in front of an employee that I work with. Their comments were regarding why I took a day off from work ie: "Oh I see why Nora took Tuesday off, it is Mitch's day off. Hahaha." Mitch being the person I'm accused of having an affair with. Do comments such as these which both perpetuate the initial accusation an defame me in front of my fellow employee constitude defamation of character at all? Or is the only person responsible the initial ex-employee who sent the accusations?
Expert:  LawTalk replied 5 years ago.
Good afternoon,

Yes, the negligent perpetuation of the rumor may be sued on as well. No one has a right to pass on defamatory statements. If they do, they are a viable defendant in your suit, just as is the person who initiated the rumor.

You wrote: "Oh I see why Nora took Tuesday off, it is Mitch's day off. Hahaha. That actually is not defamation, but rather a form of sexual harassment and sex discrimination.

In CA you have two possible avenues of approach to dealing with discrimination. If your goal is to ultimately sue in Federal Court, then you will file a complaint with the EEOC, and if you want to be in the CA Superior Court---local to your county---then you will file with the DFEH and, if you want to, with the EEOC as well.

You may a formal complaint with the CA Department of Fair Employment and Housing alleging discrimination based on your race and/or national origin.

To do this you must first make an appointment with the Department to be interviewed, either over the phone or at a local DFEH office. You may call the DFEH at(NNN) NNN-NNNN or apply on line by using the Department’s "Online Appointment System." The system will guide you through questions to determine whether an appointment is right for you.

Alternatively, you may file a complaint with the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission). If your company has 15 or more employees, they are prohibited from discriminating against you. To file a complaint with the EEOC, contact the nearest Equal Employment Opportunity Commission field office. To be automatically connected with the nearest office, call(NNN) NNN-NNNN EEOC website:

Federal law specifically prohibits discrimination, based upon the Ethnicity, Color, Religion, National Origin, Age, Sex and Disability of an individual, with regard to hiring, promotion and firing.

After you file the complaint, your employer will be prohibited from any retaliatory action against you. The EEOC will investigate your claim, and 180 days after the filing of the complaint you may ask for a "right to sue letter". The EEOC will issue you the letter which gives you the right to institute a private civil action against your employer and seek monetary damages


I wish you well.



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