What can I do if my boss made false accusations of me being drunk and told my co-workers?

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What can I do if my boss made false accusations of me being drunk and told my co-workers?

I became ill at work in a chain restaurant. So 3 co-workers notified my manager and offered to cover the rest of my shift so that I could go to the doctor. I am fairly new and was worried about telling the boss myself. My boss replied that “maybe he shouldn’t show up drunk and hungover” and then refused to allow any of them to cover for me. I didn’t find out about the comments until a few days after the incident and I was recovered. Now, multiple co-workers have asked me about whether or not I was showing up drunk. I don’t want to lose my job but I can’t take these accusations anymore.

Asked on June 1, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Defamation is the public (which includes to co-workers) making of false factual statements which damages another's reputation. If the factual assertion that you were drunk was false, it may therefore be that your employer defamed you. However, if you have not suffered anything worse than embarassment, you could not sue for enough money to make legal action worthwhile; in the U.S. legal system, you can generally only recover compenation for actual losses, costs, or economic damages, or physical injuries, and not for emotional upset or embarrassment. Therefore, as a practical matter, there may be nothing you can do.


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