Can I sue a former employer and co-worker for Defamation/sSlander?

UPDATED: Jun 3, 2009

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Can I sue a former employer and co-worker for Defamation/sSlander?

I was laid off from work by this co-worker and my boss. Now they have disputed my Unemployment which includes a letter stating comments referring to me, with accusations of “Instability” and that I quit the job. Due to this, I have not had income for two months.

Asked on June 3, 2009 under Employment Labor Law, California


B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 13 years ago | Contributor

Probably not.  There is a qualified privilege at work here, because your former employer has a legal right to oppose your unemployment.  However, knowingly or recklessly false statements can sometimes not be protected, and for reliable advice, you need to discuss all of the facts of your case with a lawyer in your area.  One place to look for an attorney is our website,

Whether or not you can sue them, you should have an opportunity to respond to what they've said, to try and get your unemployment.  Check any notices you have gotten from the unemployment agency, which should tell you about that, and follow the directions there carefully -- or have your attorney handle this, too.  If you win the unemployment case, you'll get a nice check to cover the payments that have been delayed by the case.

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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