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Joseph Scott
Joseph Scott, Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 171
Experience:  I handled employment law cases as in-house counsel (550 employees) and as a private counsel.
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Can I sue my employer if there are rumors spreading about me

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Can I sue my employer if there are rumors spreading about me consulting for a competitive firm and my former boss from my former department asked me but will not divulge the source? It's driving me crazy and now that I'm an independent contractor, has the potential to ruin my business.
First and foremost, your question is a very good one. As is generally known:

Defamation is an injury to the reputation or character of someone resulting from the false statements or actions of another. Defamation is a false attack on your good name. Your good name is XXXXX XXXXX a proprietary interest, not a personal interest. Defamation is an improper and unlawful attack against your proprietary right to your good name, your reputation.

Defamation is the false Defamation is an important concept for any employee to know. Why? Because you may be an at-will employee subject to being terminated at any time for no reason, but if your employer, or his or her representative defames you, you will be entitled to sue for that attack on your reputation or character, even though you have no contractual right to your job and you would not be able to sue for wrongful termination based on a contractual theory. Furthermore, if the false attack on your character or reputation causes you to be terminated as a result you can sue for wrongful termination in violation of public policy, which will entitle you to seek damages far greater than the usual wrongful termination case based on contract. This means that if you were terminated as a result of the defamatory statement, you then will have the right to sue for wrongful termination in violation of public policy even though you were an at-will employee and you could have otherwise been terminated for no reason at any time.

Of course you can sue; however, the question you need to ask yourself is do you have enough proof? From what you are telling me, I think you are going to need more information to be successful in a court of law. More importantly, these types of lawsuits are expensive and difficult to win. Also, if potential firms want to use you in the future, and they hear that you sued your last employer; I can almost guarantee you that those companies will not want to bring on a person who is a potential lawsuit. I know it may not be fair, but it is the facts.

If I were you, I would try to get to the bottom of where the rumor started. If you feel that it is ruining your business, then you may want to think about legal action. However, there is a possibility that someone is just trying to bother you from your old employer, so you may not want to get too worked over this until you hear more about it.

I hope that helped, I wish you the best in the future. Please let me know if there is anything else that you need.

My best,

Joseph Scott

Joseph Scott and 5 other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Thanks, that's great. I currently run my own consulting business, started after being laid-off in a corporate wide RIF. I formed an S-corp and they hired my firm to provide engineering consulting services of the same nature to a different group at the same firm. However, I do need to be in contact with my former group often and I believe one individual may be spreading the rumor becasue I am, in effect, stealing thier workload. They may feel threatened by my activities in a different group in the same firm.


Thanks again,


Scott Ghiz