Slander in the work place that was used as part of a write-up.

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Slander in the work place that was used as part of a write-up.

I was recently written up and part of what was used for its justification was a 3rd party comment to my supervisor from another employee. The person who notified my supervisor was not the primary complainant. The supervisor did not provide any detailed information to me of what was discussed with the person who complained. I only received

Asked on October 4, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

First, unless you have a written employment contract (including union agreement) protecting you from disciplinary, etc. action on this basis (or are subject to civil service rules doing the same), you do not have any "due process" rights, right to refute the allegation, right to fair treatment, etc.; rather, in the absence of a contract or civil service rules, your employer can take any disciplinary action it likes against you for any reason, even unfounded allegations, because employees without the benefit of a written contract or civil service rules have no rights at work.
(If you are subject to civil service rules or have a contract, you have to check what those rules or contract says--their specific terms, which we do not have, will control what may happen to you.)
Second, remember, defamation is ONLY the making of untrue factual allegations against you which damage your reputation. True facts, even if harmful to you or presented anonymously, are not defamation. Opinions also are not defamation, and many things which people feel are factual claims are still opinions because they are value judgments or subjective. So a claim (for example) that you are "creepy," "difficult to work worth," "lazy," "unproductive," "rude," "unpleasant," "not a team player," etc. is an opinion, and thus not defamation--all of these statements are value judgments. To be defamation, it must be a provably false factual allegation , like a claim that you were absent 15 times when you were not, a claim that you turned in false expense reports when you didn't, or a claim that you stole something from work.
If the claim against you was a false factual assertion, then you can file a suit using a fictituous name (a "John Doe" suit) and you can then use legal process (e.g. subpoenas) to get more information.

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 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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