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

UPDATED: Aug 23, 2012

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 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.

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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