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I work for the city and recently a co worker gathered

Customer Question
Hi, I work for...

Hi, I work for the city and recently a co worker gathered everyone around and told them that I was having an affair with another co worker and that I was getting special treatment. Do I have any recourse against my co worker or the city? Can the city fire her?

Lawyer's Assistant: Have you discussed the termination with a manager or HR? Or with a lawyer?

My boss is telling me that hr is doing an ‘investigation’ but they have not talked to me yet. I also documented the harassment I have put up with for the last two months from co worker.

Lawyer's Assistant: Are you an "at will" employee? Do you belong to a union?

We are not unionized.

Submitted: 1 month ago.Category: Employment Law
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Answered in 2 minutes by:
3/21/2018
Employment Lawyer: Loren, Lawyer replied 1 month ago
Loren
Loren, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 37,325
Experience: More than 30 years in legal practice.
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Thank you for using JA. I am Loren, a licensed attorney for over 30 yrs., and I am here to help.
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Employment Lawyer: Loren, Lawyer replied 1 month ago
Is the allegation false? Did the co worker know it was a false statement when they made it?
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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
It’s true but it’s personal information. The coworker used to be my best friend who had an hr investigation going and when that didn’t go anywhere she blamed the man I was seeing and wanted ‘get back at him’. She also wanted to get back at me for not being friends with her anymore because her behavior at work had gotten so out of control. It’s messy. She had a speech prepared and gathered coworkers around. The only true thing in the speech was the information about the relationship.
Employment Lawyer: Loren, Lawyer replied 1 month ago
Thank you for the additional information.
If there was any untrue aspect to the factual statements then you may have a claim for defamation.
Actually, you would start with a cease and desist letter to anyone making these false accusations.If this does not get a retraction, you will need to file suit for defamation. This cause of action is specifically for damage caused to one's reputation. To establish a prima facie case of defamation, four elements are generally required:1. a false statement purporting to be fact concerning another person or entity;2. publication or communication of that statement to a third person;3. fault on the part of the person making the statement amounting to intent or at least negligence (the person knew the statements were false or exhibited a knowing and reckless disregard of the truth or falsity of the statements when making them); and,4. some harm caused to the person or entity who is the subject of the statement.
This involves complex litigation and it is strongly advised that you retain local counsel to assist you in protecting your rights before taking any action in court for this matter. Also, any cease and desist letter will carry more impact on attorney letterhead.If you need assistance in finding an attorney, contact your state or local bar association. You can also try Martindale Hubble. Many attorneys themselves use this site to locate attorneys outside their jurisdiction or expertise:http://www.martindale.com/Find-Lawyers-and-Law-Firms.aspxIt is a huge worldwide database of attorneys searchable by location and specialty.If (and only if) you are completely satisfied that your question is answered, please remember to leave a favorable rating (click 5 stars in the rating section on this page). It is the only way that I am credited by JustAnswer for answering your question.
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Employment Lawyer: Loren, Lawyer replied 1 month ago
Are you still online with me?
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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
I am I’m just not sure what if that information I can use. Was she within her legal rights to do what she did? I’m hoping her past behavior coupled with this will be enough to get some disciplinary action for her but she has and is bullying me and creating a hostile work environment for not just me but the other co worker involved.
Employment Lawyer: Loren, Lawyer replied 1 month ago

Thank you for following up.

She was within her legal rights if the statements were true. If that is the case, there is no remedy that the courts could provide. You may have a complaint to pursue with the employer, but not with the courts.

If what she said was not factually true or accurate then you may have a claim if you can prove you were damaged. For example, if you were fired or demoted.

If that is the case, start by sending a cease and desist letter demanding a retraction. After that, if there is no positive response, you can weigh whether you want to take matters any further.

Sometimes, if there has been no traction given to the false statements. it is better to just let it die on its own rather than extend its life by initiating a lawsuit.

Does that clarify my answer for you?

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Employment Lawyer: Loren, Lawyer replied 1 month ago

Did you have further questions? Have I answered your question? Please let me know.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
I wasn’t so much concerned with the legal aspect as I was the HR side of it. Is she allowed to spread gossip, harass me, go around and talk about me to coworkers? Wouldn’t that be a fireable offense? She’s done this kind of thing to other coworkers and is allowed to continue to act in this manner.
Employment Lawyer: Loren, Lawyer replied 1 month ago

That would be a matter for the employer. If she violated policy then the HR dept would need to address that. It is not illegal, in and of itself to spread gossip.

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Employment Lawyer: Loren, Lawyer replied 30 days ago

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