CanI sue my previous employer for slandered statements he gave to the unemployment board regarding my lay-off?

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CanI sue my previous employer for slandered statements he gave to the unemployment board regarding my lay-off?

Laid me off 7 months ago. I’ve been collecting unemployment since then. Now he is telling unemployment that he fired me for personality conflicts between me and employees 5 months later. Word has it he is doing this because he believes that Iturned him into the labor board for various issues regarding his construction company.

Asked on December 7, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, saying that there were "personality conflicts" is may very possibly not be defamation, since whether there are or are not personality conflicts would most likely be considered an opinion--i.e. something people could disagree on. A false factual statement made about you, which damages your reputation, could be defamation, so if the employer said you stole, or were excessively absent, or lacked some education or qualification, and those things were false, you might have a cause of action. But a statement which is an opinion is not actionable.

You could speak with a personal injury attorney to see if whether the lawyer believes the statements made, viewed in the context in which they were made, may be defamation; this is an evaluation which needs to be made following discussion in detail of exactly what was said, when, and how. You need to be prepared for the fact that it may not actionable, however.


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