Are there any legal ramifications of someone from my previous place of employment calling and saying negative things to the person I am interviewing with?

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Are there any legal ramifications of someone from my previous place of employment calling and saying negative things to the person I am interviewing with?

I was directly told by the prospective employer that she received this negative phone call. I’m not clear as to the impact of acquiring this new position, I was just wanting to find out if I have any legal recourse for being “black-balled”.

Asked on June 8, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Ohio

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If the negative statement was false, you could sue the person who made the statement for defamation.  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.  If the negative statement was true, that would be a defense to defamation.

Slander is spoken defamation.  Libel is written defamation.

Each repetition of the false statement is actionable in a lawsuit for defamation.  If the slanderous statement imputes characteristics incompatible with your business, trade or profession, you can recover general damages (monetary compensation in your lawsuit) which would include loss of friends and associates from the defamation, mental distress, and if applicable, physical illness and medical expenses.

If the slanderous statement does not fall into this category or certain other categories, you would need to prove special damages (pecuniary loss) such as loss of employment, loss of customers or loss of business to recover damages for slander.

 


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