Can I sue former co-workers for libel that resulted in wrongful termination of my employment?

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Can I sue former co-workers for libel that resulted in wrongful termination of my employment?

I’m a registered nurse with 18 years and experience and professional reputation that was untarnished. At least until a few co-workers were coerced and a few willingly wrote false statements that were all hearsay at best. Those statements resulted in my termination. However the statefound that is was a wrongful termination and approved unemployment benefits without an appeal. Also, so called “abuse” not reported to Board of Registered Nursing as required by law. Should O speak with a personal injury attorney? In Los Angles County, CA.

Asked on July 21, 2011 California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If you feel you were defamed, you should definitely speak with a personal injury attorney to evaluate the strength of the case, what it might be worth, how expensive it would be to pursue--and then to take action, if appropriate. Defamation is the public (so to even one person) making of a false statement of fact which damages a person's reputation. Note that an opinion is never defamation, so saying something like "Jane Doe is creepy" or "John Doe is the worst nurse I've ever worked with" is not defamation. Also, true statements, no matter how damaging, are not defamation, so it's not defamation to say or write "John/Jane Doe gave a patient 100 mL of tetramorphacorzine"--not being a medical professional, I obviously made that up--"instead of 10 mL," if that is true. It does not matter whether something is "heresay" or not: just whether it is a statement of fact or an opinion, and if a fact, whether it is true or not.


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