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For example, saying that detectives are questioning an employee about a suspected theft could imply that the employee is a suspected thief, or a witness to a theft.
In that case, the court can conclude that the statement meant the employee was a witness and find that the statement is innocent.
Defamation at work occurs when employers, customers or co-workers publish false statements of fact, without legal privilege to do so, that harm the reputation of employees.
A negative employment references can prevent an employee from getting a new job, for example, and would amount to defamation if false, but employers have a "qualified privilege," or a defense to defamation claims for employment references.
When the supervisor and Human Resource Director talk to each other about something that falls within the scope of their respective jobs, they are both speaking as the employer, and conversation amounts, in defamation law, to the employer talking to itself.
If the supervisor tells a co-worker who has no need to know that the employee did something horrible, then the co-worker is probably a third party, and the supervisor's statement is defamatory.
Accusations of serious crimes or immoral conduct constitute defamation per se.
Slander refers to defamation when spoken, and libel means written defamation.
The legal test for proving and defending libel and slander claims is the same as for defamation. The new clinical director stated that I was "overwhelmed with billing issues when the biller was gone and that I had to go get help from another employee because I 'could not' han... Is this I contract for the US Govt under a contract they have with my Science & Technology company employer.
The statement that an employee "seemed shifty" expresses an opinion, while the employee "stole from me" is a statement of fact.
If a factual statement has two meanings, one innocent and one defamatory, courts can adopt the innocent meaning and reject the claim for workplace defamation.