Is it defamation of character if your employer calls you lazy?

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Is it defamation of character if your employer calls you lazy?

I got written up at work today and in the write up I was called senseless and lazy.

Asked on August 23, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Washington

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

No, it is not defamation. In the first place, defamation is only untrue factual statements; opinions are not defamation. However, saying you are "senseless and lazy" is not a factual statement--it is an opinion. You cannot sue over or recover money due to another person's opinion of you, no matter how much you disagree with it. Second, if the write up was made directly to you and not shared with other people, then even if there were untrue factual statements in it, it would not be defamation; defamation is damaging untrue factual statements made to other people about you, not made to you. Anyone may say anything directly to you without it being defamation.


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