What is grounds for defamation of character in the workplace?

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What is grounds for defamation of character in the workplace?

My new manager counted his register down before leaving one night. I make cash deposits nightly, therefore I am required to double count his register. It was off by $20, making the safe short, and I followed procedures to correct it (so the deposit would be correct). The next day my manager wrote me up, and set up my probation due to accusations of theft. The cameras and logs were checked the next week and there was no proof of the matter. I did not steal. Since then, he has written me up for things I am not in control of. Is this grounds to sue for defamation? Would I sue against the company itself or just the people concerned?

Asked on January 30, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Tennessee

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

A suit that is based upon defamation requires that the spoken worked (libel) or the written word (slander) be what is known as "published" to a third party in order for it to be actionable.  Here your claim would use the reports that the manager is writing as being "published" to your supervisors, correct?  You would need to have damages to your reputation that caused you loss of income, etc., in order to sue as well.  Has that happened yet?  Then maybe what you do have at this point in time is a harassment claim.  I would speak with an employment attorney on the matter as soon as you can.  Good luck to you.


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