Can I sue my employer for defamation of character, slander and breaking confidentiality?

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Can I sue my employer for defamation of character, slander and breaking confidentiality?

On Monday of last week I was suspended for complaint that patients may not be getting their medication. This complaint they said was made on the Saturday before. They did not give me anything in writing stating that I was suspended it was just done verbally. They broke confidentiality by telling other employees in the facility the reason I was suspended. Can I sue for slander, defamation of character and breaking confidentiality? This makes the second time I have been suspended for the same thing in a month. The first time they found out it was a lie like this one is. I have yet to hear anything from them.

Asked on February 4, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, West Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Unless there was an employment contract or other agreement requiring them to keep the details of discipline, suspension, etc. confidential, they are allowed to tell other employees--the law does not automatically make this confidential. (It is unprofessional to share the information, but not illegal).

If what your employer said was true--i.e. you were suspended due to a complaint, and that's what they said--that is not defamation, no matter how negative that is for you. Only an untrue factual statement might be defamation.


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