Former employee defamation towards employer

I’m the new Customer Service Manager for a retail business. It’s been a few years but if it can be proven to have damaged sales can a suit still be filed? The instance happened 3 years ago. The employee had a large Confederate battle flag on their vehicle and in an effort to remain neutral during that big debate at the time had been asked to move the vehicle to the employee parking area or remove the flag. This employee then took to social media to rant about 1st amendment rights and their employers unfair and

Asked on December 25, 2018 under Business Law, Georgia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

Yes, you can potentially sue, but bear in mind that opinions, even harmful ones, are not defamation and do not entitle you to compensation: only false factual statements may be defamation. So if the employee said you are "unsouthern" or unfair, or did not respect his free speech rights, those are opinions, not facts: he is entitled to them, and you cannot sue over them. Similarly, negative reviews which are opinion based (e.g. " the store had bad customer service") are nothing you can sue over, either. You would need some provable factual misrepresentation, like claiming that you sold counterfeit goods when you can show that you did not, to have a viable defamation lawsuit or claim.


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