Can my former employer be made to revoke the reason they listed on my discharge papers for my termination, if those reasons are found to be untrue?

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Can my former employer be made to revoke the reason they listed on my discharge papers for my termination, if those reasons are found to be untrue?

My employer fired me for failure to follow directives/insubordination. However, I always did what was asked of me and performed the duties that were required of me according to the job description my employer gave to me prior to being hired for the position. Now, my employer has written the reason for my termination, on the discharge papers, as failure to follow directives/insubordination. Because of this, my unemployment benefits will be placed on hold until the state can investigate the case to determine if I am eligible to receive my unemployment benefits. In the meantime, this could cause my family financial hardship. I am actively looking for work, however, it is difficult to find when “The reason you left your former employer?” question on the application has to be answered by stating that you were terminated. So, if the state approves my benefits or if they deny them and I appeal, which I will do, and I win, would my employer be made to change the reason given for my termination on my discharge papers if they lose the appeal based on not having any documentation to support the reason that they listed?

Asked on August 15, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Tennessee

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The state's determination in your favor will not itself automatically require the employer to change what it states about you. However, it would be powerful evidence in your favor if you then brought a defamation lawsuit against your former emloyer, since defamation is the public making (including to prospective employees) of untrue factual statements which damage a person's reputation. If you get a favorable state determination in your favor, one logical next step would be a defamation lawsuit; in that lawsuit, you could seek both monetary compensation and a court order (injunction) requiring the former employer to stop stating this about you.


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