Do I have a libel case?

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Do I have a libel case?

I was fired by my employer, who gave written examples in my file that were false.
The examples claim that I did not complete certain tasks in my job. I have
documentation in writing that shows the tasks were completed successfully. I am
a 59 year old woman with many years of experience in the industry. The two
‘managers’ in this area are in their 30’s and 40’s. I believe they just didn’t
want an older person around, and tried to find faults. However, the examples
given were false and damaging, which caused me to lose my job. They will not
remove them from my file. What action can I take?

Asked on February 16, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You have no defamation case (libel is written defamation; slander is spoken or oral) owing to comments placed in your personnel file. Defamation is the *public* making of untrue factual assertions about you which damage your reputation, but your personnel file is not public document or forum. Since it is not public, comments in it are not defamation.
On the other hand, if you believe that you were terminated because of your age and not for some legitimate reason, you may have a viable age-discrimination claim, since you are much older than the supervisors and are well past the protected age (40). You may wish to contact the federal EEOC or state's equal/civil rights agency to explore bringing such a claim.


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