What can I do if my former employer convinced my current employer that I was stealing and got me fired?

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What can I do if my former employer convinced my current employer that I was stealing and got me fired?

These are false accusations. I asked for proof but was fired immediately.

Asked on July 3, 2014 under Personal Injury, California

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

You may have a claim for what is known as "defamation". It will depend on the details of your case. Defamation occurs when someone (here your former employer) makes an intentional and false statement that harms another person.

State rules vary on what an employee must prove to win a defamation case, but as a general rule they must show 5 things:

  1. The employer made a false statement of fact about the employee (i.e. statements of opinion don't count and neither do statements that are true).
  2. The employer knew/should have known that the statement was false (i.e. if the employer in good faith believed that their statement was true there’s no claim).
  3. The employer “published” the statement (i.e. they actually make the statement to someone).
  4. The statement was not subject to "privilege". Some states protect the speaker as long as they acted without malice regarding the giving an employment reference to a prospective employer.
  5. The employee suffered harm because of the statement. In this regard, it should be noted that certain statements are considered defamatory “per se,” which means that the law presumes the statement automatically is one that would cause harm so the employee doesn't need to prove it (e.g. statements that an employee committed a crime).

If you think your former employer may have committed defamation, you should talk to an employment law attorney to find out whether your case is worth pursuing and/or whether you may have any additional claims.


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 AttorneyPages.com 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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