student has lied about a situation in school where I was an interim teacher. Principal has given me a ‘will not hire me’ because of this. Now I am unable to get a job as a substitute teacher. Can I do anything about this?

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student has lied about a situation in school where I was an interim teacher. Principal has given me a ‘will not hire me’ because of this. Now I am unable to get a job as a substitute teacher. Can I do anything about this?

I have my teaching certification and am trying to get a full time position as a
teacher but in the meantime I am working as a substitute teacher. This case was
administratively dropped and the the police said that I did nothing wrong. The
child however told her parents that she was restrained to the desk, then she
changed her story to state that the tape never touched her but was only a
boundary set by me. She apparently said she felt humiliated she is in 2nd grade
she would not know what that word was. I believe that it is her parents pushing
this and it has cost me work for the past 2 months waiting to be resolved. My sub
people called me and stated that because the school would not hire me as a
teacher or a substitute then they were not going to either. I asked them if they
knew what the reasoning was for the ‘not hiring’ me ans they said no so I let
them know what happened. Do I have a case for slander or something?

Asked on December 16, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If you believe, as you evidently do, that the child's statement is factually untrue, then you could potentially sue the child's parents for defamation (especially since they are evidently repeating it): it is defamation (slander is oral defamation; libel is written; "defamation" is the overal category) to make an untrue factual assertion which damages another's reputation. Winning could be difficult if it comes down to just your word vs. the child's as to the truth of what happened: it is a defense to a defamation lawsuit that the statement made was true. So if the child is persuasive and credible, you may not be able to win the lawsuit, unless there is other evidence or testimony supporting your position that this was untrue. If you were to win, you could potentially recover compensation for lost economic opportunities or earning potential.


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