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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 102504
Experience:  Years of experience in running a medium sized law firm.
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I have complained to my nursing travel company after my

Customer Question

I have complained to my nursing travel company after my nurse manager has threatened to not pay me if I don't attend classes. He has openly placed notices about this, in plain sight. I called the company to complain. Recently I received a negative evaluation from this nurse manager when I put him down as a reference. Which essentially ended my relationship with another travel company. I have now been demoted and had a reduction in pay, when I questioned why he gave me a less than positive reference. This is workplace retaliation, in my opinion.
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ely replied 10 months ago.

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms.

I am sorry to hear about this situation. Please tell me exactly (if you know) what did he state about you to the other travel company?

This is not an answer, but an information request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
It wasn't disclosed to me what he had said to the new travel company. They only said that it was a negative reference and wouldn't be able to work with me, based on this report.
Expert:  Ely replied 10 months ago.

Thank you.

So this may be actionable, however, not for purposes of what you think.

Employers (and their management) can write whatever they want to in their reviews. Even if the review is negative based on office politics, this is their right. They simply cannot discriminate against you for race, religion, creed, etc. Otherwise, they can write whatever they want to for their review - it is a private, inter-company opinion.

However, what the company cannot do is say a falsity about you to a third party, which includes another company. This would be called defamation.

To sue in a state court, one needs to have a "cause of action." There are numerous causes of action, such as "breach of contract," "negligence," "fraud," "unjust enrichment," etc., as well as causes of action rooted in statutory law. Every state has their own although they are very similar to each other in every state because they all stem from the same common law. A pleading in Court needs at least one cause of action, although it is not unusual to have more than one.

We had mentioned defamation as a cause of action. The essential elements to prove are: "One who publishes a false statement harmful to the interests of another is subject to liability for pecuniary loss resulting to the other if: (a) he intends for publication of the statement to result in harm to interests of the other having a pecuniary value, or either recognizes or should recognize that it is likely to do so, and (b) he knows that the statement is false or acts in reckless disregard of its truth or falsity." Paint Brush Corp. v. Neu, 599 NW 2d 384 - SD: Supreme Court 1999 citing Prosser.

At the same time, if it was not quite false, but EXAGGERARED, then someone in your situation may still sue for business interference: The elements necessary to prove tortious interference with business relationships or expectancy as established by our case law are: (1) the existence of a valid business relationship or expectancy; (2) knowledge by the interferer of the relationship or expectancy; (3) an intentional and unjustified act of interference on the part of the interferer; (4) proof that the interference caused the harm sustained; and (5) damage to the party whose relationship or expectancy was disrupted. Hayes v. Northern Hills General Hosp., 1999 SD 28, 18, 590 N.W.2d 243, 248.

So doing a negative report (as long as it is not discriminatory) is allowed. Saying something NEGATIVE to a third party is allowed. However, saying something negative which is not true OR is highly exaggerared is not allowed, and if this is what happened, someone in your situation can possibly file a suit.

The problem is finding out exactly what was said. If you cannot find out, but strongly suspect that it was false or exaggerated, you may wish to file suit anyhow, or, use pre-suit deposition if possible.

I hope this helps and clarifies. Please use the SEND or REPLY button to keep chatting, or please RATE when finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating. Kindly rate my answer as one of TOP THREE FACES/STARS and then SUBMIT, as this is how experts get credit for our time. Rating my answer the bottom two faces/stars (or failing to submit the rating) does not give me credit and reflects poorly on me, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith with a positive rating.

Expert:  Ely replied 10 months ago.
Hello again. This is a courtesy check in to see if you needed anything else in regards ***** ***** question because you never responded or replied positively. I am simply touching base. Let me know. Thanks!