Employment Law

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A past employer is claiming that I became pregnant by my…

A past employer is...

A past employer is claiming that I became pregnant by my boss and that is why I left my company

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

Is reality I left for a better salary . NY sate

Lawyer's Assistant: Has anything been filed or reported?

No I just found out

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Answered in 5 minutes by:
1/17/2018
ScottyMacEsq
ScottyMacEsq, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 18,116
Experience: Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
Verified

Thank you for using JustAnswer.

I'm sorry to hear about your situation. Can you tell me what your question is?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Do I have a case for defamation of character?

Have you suffered any lost wages, or were not hired by an employer, etc... because of this statement?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I had already left the company and been hired by a new company when the CFO started stating this to employees of my past company, so I currently have suffered losses, but I worry that it will affect my future opportunities and earnings

I see. Thank you for that additional information. Please give me a few minutes while I type a response. I am still here with you, but it does take a bit of time to type a complete response.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I currently have NOT suffered, but worry abut the future repeurrcussions

Legally this type of case would be "defamation", meaning that it's a false statement of material fact, communicated to a third party, that causes quantifiable economic damages or is of such a nature that the allegations refer to criminal misconduct, sexual misconduct, or that the plaintiff has a sexual disease (this is called defamation per se).

Note that the statement has to be false. If it's true, this is not legally "defamation", even if it is harmful to someone's reputation. It has to be false to be defamation.

But it also has to be a "statement of material fact". That means that opinions are not actionable. Opinions (even if everyone else on the planet would say otherwise) would not be actionable. It would have to be a statement of fact (objectively verifiable, rather than something that is in one's opinion).

Further, it has to cause "quantifiable damages". The main issue here is that many lies and insults that would otherwise be actionable cannot show how the individual was harmed, to a reasonable degree of probability. So the courts require that you prove the actual dollar amount that she was harmed as a result of this. And that's often where these cases fail. Typically the only successful cases are where people lose jobs (lost wages could be proven) or do not get advancements in their jobs, etc...

Now there is something known as "defamation per se". In defamation per se cases, a plaintiff does not need to prove damages. The categories of defamation per se in New York are:

  1. Charging a plaintiff with a serious crime;
  2. Stating false facts that tend to injure a plaintiff in his or her business trade or profession;
  3. Charging that a plaintiff has a loathsome disease;
  4. Imputing that a plaintiff is unchaste.

But even if you don't prove damages, then that merely means you can get "nominal" damages (such as $1 or $10 to show that you won the case, but it doesn't really compensate for anything in actuality). You could get an injunction against the person to stop spreading lies, so if it's more about cutting it out rather than the money damages, then that might be your next step.

That being said, you need to contact an attorney in your area that deals with defamation cases. Go to www.lawyers.com or www.legalmatch.com to find an attorney in your area. You should be able to find one that will give you a free initial consultation and better advise you of your rights, any problems with your case, likelihood of success, how courts are treating cases such as yours in your area, and what you should do next.

Hope that clears things up a bit. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable.

Please note that I don't get any credit for the time and effort that I spent on this answer unless and until you rate it positively (3 or more stars). Look for the stars on your screen (★★★★★). You may need to scroll left/right/up/down to see these stars, but note that the rating is what closes out this question, so it is necessary that you do so.

Thank you, ***** ***** luck to you!

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
do you think it is worth it to contact an attorney ? do you think I have a case ?
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
or would it just be a headache?

It would be a headache even if you had the strongest case in the world. Litigation is time consuming and stressful, in the best of circumstances. Like I said, without actual proof of economic damages, you wouldn't have a case for monetary relief, but could still have a case for an injunction (an order saying that they can't continue to make these assertions, and maybe an order to tell them to tell the truth).

ScottyMacEsq
ScottyMacEsq, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 18,116
Experience: Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
Verified
ScottyMacEsq and 87 other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Ask your own question now
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Thank you!

You're welcome, and again, good luck to you!

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ScottyMacEsq
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Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 18,116
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DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

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