Slander from a previous employer

I was having a background investigation done for a security clearance and the
investigator as me about substance abuse. I have never used illegal substances
of any kind. The investigator told me that one of my previous employers stated
that prior to employment there I had a substance abuse problem, but it wasn’t a
problem while working there. Again, I have never used illegal substances of any
kind. They have no proof that I ever had a problem. I do not know where they
got this information or why they said it. However it has negatively affected my
security clearance. What legal action can I take?

Asked on March 14, 2018 under Personal Injury, Utah


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

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

You can sue your former employer for defamation.  Defamation is a false statement made with knowledge of its falsity communicated to a third party who recognizes the defamatory content  and the statement is injurious to your reputation.
Each repetition of the defamatory statement is actionable in a lawsuit for defamation.
Slander is spoken defamation.
Libel is written defamation.
Your damages (monetary compensation you are seeking in your lawsuit) for defamation includes emotional distress, lost income, loss of friends or associates, and if applicable, physical illness.
You can seek punitive damages (a substantial amount to punish the intentional wrongful act of your previous employer).

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