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Maverick, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 6391
Experience:  20 years professional experience
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Tina. 2 days ago my employer (the owner) came outside the

Customer Question

Hi Tina. 2 days ago my employer (the owner) came outside the office while myself and another employee of the opposite sex were outside smoking and talking. He then proceeded to go inside and tell another employee that he "saw" us "making out" outside. THEN he called the father of the other employee and told him the same thing. (the father also works for company). This is the second time our employer has started rumors about us.
Myself and this other employee are merely friends and both of us are in long term relationships. I am also an entertainer locally and have good reputation. This is very wrong to me and I am not sure how to approach this situation because neither one of us have done anything close to these accusations. I"m very frustrated. This rumor is now spread throughout the entire company. (and by the owner!!) any thoughts?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Maverick replied 2 years ago.
This is a defamation issue. Under AZ law, to be “defamatory,” a statement must be false and bring the defamed person into disrepute, contempt, or ridicule, or impeach her honesty, integrity, virtue, or reputation. Godbehere v. Phoenix Newspapers, Inc., 162 Ariz. 335, 341 (Ariz. 1989).
It appears that this is what the owner's statement about "making out" has done. Liability deriving from defamation can extend into nearly any context including intra-office communications or memorandums.
In Arizona, “[o]ne who publishes a false and defamatory communication concerning a private person is subject to liability, if, but only if, he (a) knows that the statement is false and it defames the other, (b) acts in reckless disregard of these matters, or (c) acts negligently in failing to ascertain them.” Antwerp Diamond Exch. of Am., Inc. v. Better Bus. Bureau of Maricopa Cnty., Inc., 130 Ariz. 523, 528, 637 P.2d 733, 738 (1981) (quoting Peagler v. Phx. News., Inc., 114 Ariz. 309, 315, 560 P.2d 1216, 1222 (1977)); see Dube v. Likins, 216 Ariz. 406, 417, 167 P.3d 93, 104 (Ct. App. 2007) (quoting Rowland v. Union Hills Cntry. Club, 157 Ariz. 301, 306, 757 P.2d 105, 110 (Ct. App. 1988))
One way to handle this is to discuss this with your boss and ask him to retract the statements whereever stated or published and to each such person who may have heard the same because of his neglect.
A stronger approach would be to send a cease and desist letter:
There is a sample which you can use as a GO-By to fit AZ law cited above and your facts.
Your third option is to sue, if you can prove monetary damage.
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