As a teacher, can an email stating derogatory remarks to my employer by a third party employer be considered libel?

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As a teacher, can an email stating derogatory remarks to my employer by a third party employer be considered libel?

I am a college professor that teaches dual credit classes at a high school. An email was sent by the high school administration sent an email regarding negative classroom attitude with students has led to declining enrollment, and even possible class cancelation. The comments are derogatory and serve as a personal attack and are consistent with an agenda remove me as a teacher from the high school and are not supported by either student review or peer review. The comments aim to hurt or damage my personal integrity and character with my employer.

Asked on February 23, 2017 under Personal Injury, Arizona

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

The remarks *may* be considered defamation if:
1) They are a factual assertion, not an opinon--opinions are never defamtion (libel or slander) and everyone is legally entitled to have and express opinions. So an email saying that you have a "negative attitude" is not defamation, since a "negative attitude" is not a provable (or disprovable) thing--i.e. it is not a fact. Rather, as something purely subjective, it is an opinion.
2) The factual statement must be false, since the truth is a defense to a claim of defamation. So if the email claimed that you made certain specific remarks to students (a factual assertion), but you did in fact make those remarks (so it is true), that is not defamation.


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