Former employee defamation towards employer

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Former employee defamation towards employer

I’m the new Customer Service Manager for a retail business. It’s been a few years but if it can be proven to have damaged sales can a suit still be filed? The instance happened 3 years ago. The employee had a large Confederate battle flag on their vehicle and in an effort to remain neutral during that big debate at the time had been asked to move the vehicle to the employee parking area or remove the flag. This employee then took to social media to rant about 1st amendment rights and their employers unfair and

Asked on December 25, 2018 under Business Law, Georgia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you can potentially sue, but bear in mind that opinions, even harmful ones, are not defamation and do not entitle you to compensation: only false factual statements may be defamation. So if the employee said you are "unsouthern" or unfair, or did not respect his free speech rights, those are opinions, not facts: he is entitled to them, and you cannot sue over them. Similarly, negative reviews which are opinion based (e.g. " the store had bad customer service") are nothing you can sue over, either. You would need some provable factual misrepresentation, like claiming that you sold counterfeit goods when you can show that you did not, to have a viable defamation lawsuit or claim.

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 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.

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