Defamation of character that leads to wrongful termination is a complex legal matter. Not all statements made about workers while in the workplace meet the legal standard needed to bring a defamation action. Knowing what to look for is the first step in putting together a case, and if wrongful termination is part of the equation an added layer of analysis is required. Dan A. Atkerson is a defamation of character in wrongful termination attorney in Carrollton, TX, with experience in this specialized area of law.
What is Defamation of Character In Wrongful Termination?
Defamation is a false statement made about another. There are two types of defamation, one is libel and the other is slander. Libel is a written falsehood while slander is spoken. When false claims are made about an employee the damage is severe. Victims can lose their job as a result of a co-worker spreading defamatory information and can even suffer a blow to their reputation in the industry. When a professional reputation is tarnished it can be difficult to secure alternate employment. The loss of income coupled with the loss of earning potential from reputation damage is great but can be recovered from the party making the defamatory remarks. Depending on the facts of the case, the actual person responsible for the defamation that leads to a wrongful termination can be held liable or the employer may be responsible.
Legal Elements Required To Prove Defamation
It is not enough to report a false statement has been made or that inaccurate information has been distributed to maintain a defamation claim. There are certain elements required by law to be present in defamation cases, such as:
- The statement must actually be completely false.
- The statement or information must have been provided with a malicious intent. This element may be difficult to prove as it goes to the very intention of the person making the statement, which may never truly be discovered. However, there are legal mechanisms, such as written discovery and depositions, in place aimed at getting to the true intent and those procedures prove helpful when making a case for defamation.
- If the statement was so inflammatory as to call in to question the moral character of the victim, the case for defamation may be stronger. This is because when a person’s character is impugned, it becomes harder to be hired by a new company or to hold onto a current position.
When these elements are established, a victim can look to the responsible party for compensation for damages suffered.
Who Is Liable For Defamation of Character In Wrongful Termination Cases?
When co-workers or supervisors make defamatory statements, yet the company itself does nothing to change the perception created, the company can be held liable for the damage done to your character. Moreover, if you are wrongfully terminated as a result of a defamatory remark that was not fully investigated, you should consider a suit against your employer for defamation and for wrongful termination. In order to hold an employer liable, the statements must have been made by an employee within the scope of their job duties.
Who to Call for Help with a Defamation of Character In Wrongful Termination Matter
If you have lost your job or had your character tarnished by the false statements of another, while at work, we can help. We are experienced in workplace legal issues and will give your case the attention it needs for maximum recovery. Contact us online or call our office at (214) 383-36061.