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Is your former employer ruining your reputation?

Not all working relationships end harmoniously. Though you expected your previous boss to be professional, it is possible that his or her actions have made it difficult for you to find new employment.

Defamation comes in both spoken and written forms – slander and libel, respectively – and it can ruin your career if you do not address it. To decide if you have a solid case against your former employer, consider if the following circumstances are present in your situation.

Statements of fact

Opinions, no matter how baseless or insulting, can never qualify as defamation. Because a person’s perspective is subjective, it is impossible to know if the information is untrue. For employers to commit slander or libel, they must share statements of fact that can be either proven or disproven with solid evidence.

Is your boss telling others you were always late to work? If the company used a clock-in system, you may be able to show that the statement is false.

Known false information

Even if a former supervisor spreads lies, a statement is not defamation if the person believes it to be true. Perhaps your boss is sharing false information he or she received from one of your coworkers or another manager in the company. Individuals must be aware that what they say is untrue.

Cause of hardship

Is the former boss’ representation of your skills the reason you are not getting jobs? Prospective employers may not hire you for a variety of reasons, including your qualifications, experience or first impressions during an interview. You need to be able to show that these hiring managers did not want to extend an offer because of the information they learned from your previous employer.

Also, keep in mind that there is a fine line between defamation and a person’s freedom of speech. For example, casual, offhanded remarks do not typically count as slander. Though circumstances can be complex, it is worth pursuing if it affects your career.

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