Can it be considered a defamation case if there are false statements made in an employee evaluation?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can it be considered a defamation case if there are false statements made in an employee evaluation?

My employer recently did evaluations. In my evaluation there are a lot of false statements specifically she says I sometimes dress unprofessionally but has never pointed it out to me but I wear the same attire I’ve been wearing since I started in which my first evaluation it was never stated. She also verbally said to me that my “personal grooming” habits were an issue I’m a very clean person. She said I was not a team player and that I did not participate in community events which is also false I’ve made cakes and taken pictures for these events. My list could continue but everything was false.

Asked on December 11, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

This probably is not actionable defamation. The issue is, while you believe this statements to be false, they are essentially opinions--what you consider good grooming another might not; what you consider professional dress, the supervisor might not; and even the issue of community participation may could be an opinion, since you and she could differ as to what constitutes "participation" (maybe, to her, making cakes and taking pictures doesn't count sufficiently). Only things that are clearly factual statements--such as claiming you were excessively absent when employment records, time sheets, payroll, etc. shows you were not--would be defamation; opinions, no matter how hurtful or how much you would disagree, are not.

In addition, defamation arises from statements made to third parties; if the evaluation was made only to you directly, it would also not be defamation for that reason, too.


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 AttorneyPages.com 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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption