What constitutes defamation of character?

I’m a social worker in a junior high. The staff at my school was given a anonymous district climate survey in which we were told to be “honest. constructive, and professional”. The following was written and sent out this morning to the entire staff, “It is hard for the students to find one of our social workers, because she is continually in a certain teachers room even during his instruction time, which is completely inappropriate. I know that I am there for my students and most of them feel free to speak to me about anything”. This is a false statement with no proof. It may impact my job.

Asked on June 14, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Defamation is a false statement made with knowledge of its falsity communicated to a third person who recognizes the defamatory content and the statement is injurious to your reputation.

Libel is written defamation.  Slander is spoken defamation.

Each repetition of the defamatory statement is actionable in a lawsuit for defamation.

Your damages (the amount of compensation you are seeking in a lawsuit for defamation) would include mental distress, physical illness, medical expenses, loss of friends and associates resulting from the defamation.


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