Defamation?

I reside in las Vegas, NV. I was in
front of a government worker
attempting to receive benefits. In
attempt to help verify I was indeed
terminated and did not quit, I was on
speaker phone with my previous
employers store manager. I asked if I
gave verbal permission to tell her I
was terminated if he would or could do
so. He proceeds to say ‘ I will not
violate company policy but once they
find out you were stealing you won’t
get anything anyways.’ Is this not
defamation? What if he has been saying
this to prospective places of
employment who call to verify my job
history? Also, if it helps, I was not
terminated of theft only accused and
terminated for violation of company
policy.

Asked on July 1, 2016 under Personal Injury, Nevada

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

The important factual issue isn't whether you were fired or terminated for theft--it's whether you did steal anything, even a small item, small amount of money, or services. If you did steal, then this was not defamation, because it was a true statement, and true statements, no matter how negative, are not defamation. 
If you did  not steal, it may be defamation (since then it would be an untrue factual statement which damages your reputation) if made to anyone else other than you (it is never defamation to say something only to you; there have to be third parties involved for it to possibly be defamation), and you may be able to sue for compensation if you can show that it has likely cost  you anything, such as benefits (e.g. if denied them for this reason) or another job. If you believe that you were defamed, consult with a personal injury attorney--that's the kind of lawyer who would best help you.


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