Can I file a suit aginst someone for spreading and soliciting rumors about me that have resulted in the loss of my job?

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Can I file a suit aginst someone for spreading and soliciting rumors about me that have resulted in the loss of my job?

Principal at elem school with new superintendent that is friends with 4 board members. End of last school year I hosted end of the year/retirement staff party. Drinking, dancing, swimming in undergarments (I was sick that day and did none of the above). School Board member found out about the party and called staff members at their homes to ask them to call the superintendent about party. She has come into the school to ask teachers and told parents to do the same. I received my evaluation that is all good marks except for unsatisfactory in ethics and my contract is not being non-renewed.

Asked on February 12, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

IF the person publically made false statements of fact about you, that damaged your reputation and/or caused others to not want to work or do business with you, you may have a claim against that person for defamation. The problem is, it must be *false* statements of fact. So if what this person has statedf or circulated about you is true--e.g. that you hosted a party at which there was drinking and swimming in undergarments--then you don't have a claim against them. There is no law against someone repeating or circulating the truth. (Also, opinions do not give rise to a cause of action; so if this person has said, "I think John/Jane Doe is immoral," that is an opinion and you can't do anything about it.)


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