A former employer is slandering me to other potential employers

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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A former employer is slandering me to other potential employers

I worked for an attorney in Missouri. I resigned on 12/22/17. He is now telling
other attorneys in the field a false reason why I am no longer employed with him.
Is this legal?

Asked on January 8, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Missouri


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

A factually false reason is NOT legal, and you could sue him for defamation: defamation is the making to other people of false negative factual assertions which damage a person's reputation or cost him/her money in some way (such as by preventing him/her from getting a job). So if he is saying that you did something provably false, like claiming you stole or had excessive absences when you did not, that would be defamation and you could sue for both money and/or a court order that he stop doing this.
But a negative *opinion*, even if you disagree, is not defamation: only false facts are. So say he is saying you were "lazy" or "unprofessional": those are not facts, but are value judgments or opinions. They are not defamation, and there is nothing can do about it.

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