Is it legal to state that someone was terminated, if they in fact left voluntarily and on good terms?

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Is it legal to state that someone was terminated, if they in fact left voluntarily and on good terms?

I resigned from my position giving 2 weeks notice. I was sent home the day I put in my notice and offered my pay for the rest of the week since I always go “above and beyond”. After being gone for 2 weeks, I was offered another management position in a different department by the Regional of that department. I took the position and reported to work for one day. However, I received a phone call saying that the Regional of the department I had previously worked in had called my new boss and told him that I was terminated and should not be rehired. I have it all in writing.

Asked on June 21, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You should speak with a personal injury attorney; what you describe may be defamation, so you may have a legal claim for damages or compensation. Defamation is the knowing or intentional making to third parties (other people) of untrue factual statements that damage a person's reputation and/or make others not want to work with him or her. Telling a potential employer you were terminated when you were not would be a factual mistatement that could damage your reputation and could be defamation. Note that opinions are not defamation, no matter how negative--only untrue facts. So the former boss may express his opinion that you should not be rehired, but may not lie about the circumstances of you leaving employment.


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