Can an employer speak derogatory about an employee to other employees?

UPDATED: May 20, 2012

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Can an employer speak derogatory about an employee to other employees?

I was on speakerphone and have text and witnesses to my boss telling people I have lying about being burnt even though I have burns to show. She proceeded to call me names and finally told them that I needed to be watched because she forsaw me taking the bottle and oding because I’m that stupid.

Asked on May 20, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania


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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You can sue your employer 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.

Libel is written defamation.  Slander is spoken defamation.  Each repetition of the defamatory statement is actionable in a lawsuit for defamation.

If the slander is incompatible with your business, trade or profession, you only have to prove general damages.  Damages means the amount of compensation you are seeking in your lawwuit for defamation.  General damages would include compensation for injury to your reputation such as mental distress, loss of friends and associates, and if applicable physical illness, medical expense, etc.

If the slander is not incompatible with your business, trade or profession, you will need to prove special damages.  Special damages means pecuniary loss such as loss of customers, loss of employment or loss of business.  If the slander is not incompatible with your business, trade or profession and you can't prove special damages, you won't recover anything.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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