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What Is Workplace Defamation?

Social media can provide abundant examples of probable defamatory statements. Viewing media reports of slanderous comments between two public figures are the usual ways we witness possible public defamation. However, defamation is not just practiced by high profile individuals, and it can happen in everyday life, including at the workplace.

The Basics

Defamation, a false and damaging statement that gets communicated intentionally or negligently to a third party, has two sub-category classifications:

  • Libel – Reputation-tarnishing statements in writing
  • Slander – Verbal statements that cause harm to another individual

In your professional life, your good character is everything for the advancement of your career. Unlike random rumors or opinions, defamation in the workplace can damage your earning power and destroy your reputation. Defamation can affect your relationships with others at work and has the potential to create a hostile work environment that can make it impossible to work.

What can most likely qualify as workplace defamation by an employer or fellow employee? Here are some examples.

  • Critiques that are baseless, meant to harass or done with intent to harm
  • An allegation of fact that is entirely false
  • Rumors that create a hostile work environment

These examples can happen in a libelous form, such as in an email, letter, or instant message. Examples of slanderous actions in the workplace include the verbal spread of false information meant to harm the subject socially, professionally and economically.

Action Against Defamation

For a defamation lawsuit in California to have a good chance of a successful conclusion, it must be proven that the alleged defamer was at least negligent in making damaging statements about the plaintiff. Pursuing legal recourse for your loss of reputation in the workplace can provide you compensation for the damages resulting from others’ actions.

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