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I live in Iowa an work at a hospital for 19 years now... I…

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I live in Iowa...

I live in Iowa an work at a hospital for 19 years now... I have been the head of Hematology for 3 years and have/had an exemplary performance record till recently. I have been accused of drinking on the job by a coworker. I have recently been diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder that causes a distinct odor to my breath due to my gastrointestinal tract unable to digest correctly so it builds up toxins. I was diagnosed this week but I found out I was also reported last week to HR... I was not called to administration over this. I now find out that my coworker who reported me has told numerous people I am drinking on the job and I feel my job is in jeopardy. This is a small community hospital and I have heard from several people he has been saying disparaging remarks about me. He does not know my health issue nor does HR as I just found out today. Do I have any repercussions

Lawyer's Assistant: Because employment law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?

Iowa

Lawyer's Assistant: Is the employment agreement "at will," union, full time or part time?

Full time

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

He is basically ruining my reputation I have worked so hard for.

Submitted: 11 months ago.Category: Employment Law
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Answered in 8 minutes by:
9/7/2017
Employment Lawyer: Thelawman2, Lawyer replied 11 months ago
Thelawman2
Thelawman2, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 2,518
Experience: Attorney-at-Law
Verified

Hello, my name is ***** ***** I will be helping you today.

The short answer to your question is yes, you potentially have a defamation claim. The elements of a defamation claim in Iowa (like most states) are: (1) The defendant published a statement to a third party that (2) was defamatory, (3) false, (4) malicious, and (5) of and concerning the plaintiff, and (6) resulted in injury or damage to the plaintiff.

You have at least a good argument that all of these elements are met. The only issue that you might run into is proving that the statement was malicious. This is because of the medicine causing a smell that makes an odor that is similar to alcohol; so a court might not find it malicious that the other employee made these statements.

However, you would counter to that argument that the other employee simply based their decision on the odor of your breath and went out of their way to spread it to a large group of people rather than a specific HR representative. There was no need for them to do this unless they were being malicious.

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