What are my rights if I interned at a medical office for 6 months and have found out that 1 of the medical assistants there gave false information to a potential employer?

I was applying to other medical offices with no success. Can I take legal action?

Asked on November 7, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If was a false statement of fact (i.e. not just an opinion) that is negative and/or damaging, then it may well be defamation; if so, then yes, you could sue for compensation. You would sue the employee; however, the employer would not be liable for this intentional wrongful act unless the employer instructed the employee to lie or gave the employer false information. You could--and should--sue both the employer and employee, but be prepared that if the employer (the medical office) can show that it was not at fault in giving out false information, it would not be liable.
Again, only a false factual statement that harms you is defamation; true facts, even if harmful are not; and opinions, no matter how negative, are not defamation, either. So the medical assistant could say, "John/Jane Doe is the worst co-worker I've ever had," and that is not defamation, since that is an opinion.


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