What constitutes defamation and wrongful termination?

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What constitutes defamation and wrongful termination?

I have an at-will contract. However, it has come to my attention that an employee of the company has been defaming me and spreading false rumors. If my boss decides to terminate me, would I have a case for wrongful termination because of the defamation?

Asked on July 11, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If you are terminated due to false factual statements about you, then you would not have a case for wrongful termination--unless you have an employment contract addressing termination, and the termination violated the grounds set out in the contract for termination. Otherwise, you are an employee at will, and may be terminated for essentially any reason. That said, you may have a case or claim for defamation against the employee and possibly against the company itself (as his/her employer). Defamtation is the public (i.e. to even one other person) making of false statements of fact (so opinions, no matter how negative, are not defamation; nor are true statements of fact, even if negative or harmful) which damage your reputation and/or cause others to not want to do business with you. If you believe this may be the case, you should consult with a personal injury attorney. Good luck.


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