What is my recourse if my ex-employer breached a non-disparagement clause ofa separation agreement?

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What is my recourse if my ex-employer breached a non-disparagement clause ofa separation agreement?

Agreement states “The officers of XX shall not engage in any conduct or disclose any information to any third party which (i) directly or indirectly discredits or disparages employee or (ii) is detrimental to the reputation, character or standing of employee”. I was told by a prospective employer that based on what an officer of XX company said about me, that she would not grant me an interview. This is after a series of interviews with her staff who were recommending me for the job. I have in writing “Wwill not be able to make you an offer” from the perspective employer.

Asked on July 19, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

An agreement like the one you describe is a contract. If one party breaches it, the other party can sue for damages. Assuming that you can prove the allegations you write about, you would seem to have a reasonable chance to prevail on a lawsuit against your former employer. You could sue them for the losses you suffered from their breach of the agreement--such as some amount of lost salary, for not being hired. Independent of the agreement, if what they said was an untrue statement of fact (as opposed to either an opinion or a true statement of fact about you), you may also have a cause of action for defamation. It would therefore seem to be worth your while to consult with an attorney about your possible recourse. Good luck.


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