Is it harassment when a co-worker makes comments that degrade your character?

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Is it harassment when a co-worker makes comments that degrade your character?

Asked on October 1, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

It is not harassment, but it may be defamation IF those comments:

1) Are made to other persons--it's not defamation to say something only to the person you are commenting about; the comments must be made to third parties; and

2) The comments are untrue factual statements--negative opinions or negative true facts are not defamation.

In regards to point 2): say the person calls you a "creep" and says "I don't trust John/Jane Doe" or "I wouldn't feel comfortable having John/Jane Doe in my home"--that's not defamation, since it's an opinion. Or if they, "John/Jane Doe has a criminal record" and you do have a criminal record--that's not defamation, since it's true. But if they say "John/Jane Does likes child pornography" or "John/Jane Does is an alcohalic" when those things are not true, then that may be defamation, since they are untrue factual assertions.

If  you have been defamed, you could sue this person; you should speak with a personal injury attorney.


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