What kind of legal action I can take regarding slander in the workplace?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What kind of legal action I can take regarding slander in the workplace?

Last month an employee from a different department contacted me privately through one of my private social media accounts to confront me about an issue. A particular co-worker heard from another employee that I had said that this co-worker has cancer and was going to die, which is 100% not true. I wrote back to this co-worker telling them that I did not say these things and that I am sorry that they’re going through this. This co-worker seemed very receptive to what I had said in a positive way. When I asked the source of their information, she said that she felt too uncomfortable to give me the name of her source. So I then relayed this Information to the head of my HR department, who tried to investigate this case further but was unable to attain any new information. I then thought that this could have been a horrible misunderstanding where whoever the source is could had wrong information about me. So I thought this situation was settled and handled well but it still left me shocked up to the point where I took a paid mental health leave from my job that was approved by my HR (during this incident in my personal life I had a friend who committed suicide so the stress from my personal life along from the stress of work really affected me). Now, 3 weeks later another person, this time from my own department, has heard from a employee that I had said that this other person has cancer and was about to die, which again is also not true. I believe these separate incidence are not a coincidences and I believe they are connected. However, unlike the last incident I now have a name of a ledge employee who others claim to be the source of these malicious rumors. The only problem is many of my fellow co-workers do not want to speak about this incident and if I tell HR about this many of them told me that they would deny knowing anything. I feel like Im left in a uncomfortable position where I feel helpless and me not able to do anything. I’m left feeling like I’m enabling this person to continue to spread malicious rumors. Also, work in my department has left me feeling uncomfortable because many other co-workers believe these rumors to be true and have been treating me with hostility. The reason why those employees that know the truth refuses to say anything to HR about it, is because if caught malicious gossiping is grounds of termination so a lot of them are afraid to lose their jobs.

Asked on March 25, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Maryland

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

You can take legal action regarding defamation against the person who made the defamatory statements, not your employer. It cannot be held resonsible for the actions of its workers unless the worker was acting at the instruction of the employer. 

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Your employer is not responsible for slander or defamation by your co-workers, since slandering you is not what they are hired, employed, or paid to do--I.e. it is not part of their job, and so the employer is not liable.
You may however sue the individual person(s) slandering you (assuming you can identify them) for compensation and/or a court order that they cease defaming you.


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