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Allen M., Esq.
Allen M., Esq., Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 19182
Experience:  Employment/Labor Law Litigation
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While at a recent meeting company, I had an verbal outburst

Customer Question

While at a recent meeting for my company, I had an verbal outburst with one of my work partner (B) in front of the hotel we were staying at. It was a misunderstanding on directions to a certain location, and a miscommunication between my work partner (B) and I. The outbust was hear by another team member (A) inside the hotel lobby. I apologized the next day to my work partner (B) and all was fine. However, the team member (A) told the Vice President of my organization that I had a mental outbust, and that I badly upset partner (B)-and that my work partner was still upset. This was not the case. I have had issues with this person (Team Member A) since I joined the company. She has made it her mission to maliciously defame me and hurt my reputation. Can I report her to the organization for harrasement?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 2 years ago.
I don't believe this rises to the level of defamation, because it is a statement of opinion or could be construed as one. Additionally, it contains some truth, as you did have this confrontation. The only way that it could be defamation is if you could prove that person A specifically knew that Person B was not upset and expressly stated that Person B was upset. Even then, it'd be very difficult to prove any legal damages, as the employer's impressions could just be related to the outburst itself (which did happen) and not person B's opinion of the matter. Legally, it is not harassment unless you have some evidence suggesting that the only reason that person A reported the issue was based on discrimination due to your race, religion, gender, age, disability or recent FMLA use. Otherwise, there is nothing illegal about reporting this sort of thing to the employer. The only way it could be a legal issue is if you absolutely know that person A made a factual statement "Yes, person B is still upset" rather than an opinion statement like "Person B was pretty upset that day and I imagine they are still upset about it." An opinion statement wouldn't be illegal at all.