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Defamation Of Character In The Workplace

What is workplace defamation?

California has around 19 million workers, and among those, 89% work for an employer, and 11% are self-employed.  Despite the fact that there are several different workplace laws in place that protect employees from harassment, discrimination, or unfair treatment at work, employees still face problems at the workplace.

If you or someone you know has been unfairly treated by their employer in California, contact our Los Angeles workplace attorneys for more information on how you could hold your employer accountable.

Many people may not realize that the treatment they face at work could hold an employer accountable. Many people do not also know what defamation is, and the effect defamation could have on a person. When an employer defames an employee, the employee could face substantial damages. 

For example, an employee may lose out on their job and become financially unstable. In some cases, an employee may even go through grief, and damage to their reputation, which could cause emotional distress.

What is defamation?

California law prohibits employers from making false statements about an employee. Defamation occurs when a false statement is published.

There are two types of defamation in the workplace. This includes:

  •  libel: libel is written defamation. This means that the statement was made through text, email, letter, etc 
  •  slander: slander is false statements verbally communicated to another party.

Could I file a lawsuit against my former employer for defamation?

You could hold both your current employer and your past employer accountable for defamation if they have published a false statement about you.

What does publish mean?

Many people may think that publishing may mean putting it in a newspaper. However, for purposes of California law, published means writing the statement down, whether it is through an email, text message, meeting notes, etc.

Do I need a defamation attorney?

Because defamation has so many different legal nuances, you must hire an experienced defamation attorney near you to make sure that you get the best possible legal representation. Our attorneys at Heidari law always want to make sure that our clients get the proper legal help, and that we get them the compensation they deserve.

Book of defamation law

When can I file my defamation lawsuit in California?

Every type of lawsuit has a specific time frame on when it should be filed with the courts. For example, personal injury lawsuits that involve car accidents must be filed within two years from the date of the injury. But, for defamation claims, you must file the claim within one year. This is much sooner than the majority of personal injury lawsuits. It is very important that you act quickly, or you will lose your right to file a defamation lawsuit.

What is an example of defamation at work?

Susie is applying for a new engineering job at a firm. Susie provides the potential employer with her past employer’s contact information as a reference. Her past employer then claims that Susie was fired from her job because she was constantly late, and harassed her coworkers. The statement that Susie’s past employer has made to the new hiring firm constitutes defamation.  There may be several different effects that the statement could have. For example, the new firm could now communicate that to other engineers on the hiring team who will now know Susie as an unfavorable employee. This will also prevent the new potential firm from hiring Susie simply because of that false statement.

What do I have to prove to have a successful defamation lawsuit in california?

In any case, there is a burden of proof. The burden of proof belongs to the party that is filing the case. In cases of defamation, it is the employee’s burden of proof to show how their employer has made a defamatory statement against them, and how that has affected the employee.

There are several elements that you must have to prove to win a successful defamation case in california. Keep in mind that these elements are very broad, and could differ depending on the type of defamation, and the environment the false statement was made in. The elements for defamation include:

  •  A defamatory statement was made. The defamatory statement could have been made verbally or in writing.
  •  The defamatory statement was false. This means that if the statement was true, you will not succeed in your defamation claim.
  •  Because of this defamatory statement, the employee now suffered damage to their reputation.
  •  The defamatory statement was communicated to other third parties.
  •  The person who made the defamatory statement knew that the defamatory was a statement at the time.

What is not defamation?

  • Statements that are true are not defamation. This means that if your employer made a statement about you that was true to another, you cannot hold your employer accountable for defamation.
  •  Opinions about an employee are not defamation. This is a very close distinction, and could easily get mixed up. For example, if Bob makes a comment to John that he thinks Susie might be stealing from the company bank account, that could qualify as an opinion since Bob said he thinks and does not know for sure. When a statement is held out as factual, and not opinionated, it is defamation.
  •  Privileged statements are not defamation. Privilege statements include statements made during legal proceedings or someone’s official work duty.

Defamation could be very tricky to differentiate between various other statements. Our best advice to you is to contact us immediately if you believe your employer, whether current or past employer, has made a false statement about you to others.

How can I prevent defamation in the workplace?

  • If you believe your employer or another employee has been making false statements about you, address it as soon as possible. Taking immediate action and discussing with the person that has been mentioning these false statements could decrease the harm.
  • Contact an experienced workplace defamation attorney to represent you. The faster you hire a workplace attorney, the less damage you may face to your reputation.

How much do our defamation attorneys charge?

Our defamation attorneys work through contingency fee agreements and do not charge a single dollar upfront unless we win compensation for you. We make sure that our clients have the utmost trust in our work, and do not collect any upfront fees. Book a consultation with us now.

Workplace Defamation Attorney Near Me

For a free case review, call our attorneys to schedule a consultation. Our consultations are completely complementary, and offer a great opportunity to discuss your potential defamation case. Unfortunately, many people don’t even know that they have a defamation case unless they talk it through with an attorney. Many do not even know that they could recover damages for a defamatory statement.

Give us a call today to schedule a meeting with our experienced lawyers. We have handled defamation successfully for several of our clients, and have been representing our clients successfully against employers that are trying to take advantage of their employees. 

Besides defamation in the workplace, you could also be facing sexual harassment or discrimination. Give us a call today to see how we can help you.

Contact us today for a free case evaluation with an experienced employment attorney.

*** Disclaimer: This page, created by Heidari Law Group, is intended for educational purposes only and provides a broad overview of legal principles. It should not be considered specific legal advice. Your use of this site and review of this material does not establish an attorney-client relationship with Heidari Law or any of its members. Laws are subject to change, and therefore some information presented here may not reflect current legal standards. All logos and images on this site are the property of their respective owners and are used only for illustrative purposes; their presence does not indicate endorsement or affiliation. Please respect the copyright restrictions of these images and logos. If you have concerns about copyright infringement or require proper attribution, contact us immediately. We are committed to honoring intellectual property rights and will respond promptly to any issues.

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Sam Heidari

Sam Ryan Heidari

Sam Heidari is the founding principal of Heidari Law Group, a law firm specializing in personal injury, wrongful death, and employment law with offices in California and Nevada. Sam Heidari has been practicing law for over 11 years and handles a wide range of cases including car accidents, wrongful death, employment discrimination, and product liability. The Heidari Law Group legal firm is known for its comprehensive approach, handling cases from initial consultation through to final judgment. Sam Heidari is dedicated to community involvement and advocacy for civil liberties.

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