Previous employer lying.

My previous employer has now lied three
different times to possible future
employers about me and the time I
worked there and I was wondering if
there was anything I could do about

Asked on September 12, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If they are lying about you, you could potentially sue them for defamation (slander or libel), for either monetary compensation or for a court order directing them to stop lying about you.
The key is, it must be an actual *lie*: a factual mistatement. An opinion, no matter how much you disagree with it, is not a lie, is not defamation, and is legal.
So, say you left work due to a personality conflict with a supervisor. It may be defamation and you may be able to sue if they are telling other people that you were fired for stealing or absenteeism, if you were not stealing or absent--those would be lies, because they are factual mistatements. But it is not defamation if they say you were fired due to a conflict with other employees or supervisors, since that is true, even if you don't other people to hear it. It also would not be a lie or defamation if they tell others they thought you were a "bad" worker or "unpleasant" to work with--those are opinions, and eveyone is legally entitled to an opinion.
So if you believe they are telling factual untruths about you, that may be defamation, and in that case you could sue. If you think this was the case, you are advised to consult with a personal injury attorney (the same lawyers who handle slip-and-fall cases or car accidents handle defamation).

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