What are my right when it comes to libel?

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What are my right when it comes to libel?

I recently had to go on food stamps and with that I had an eligibilty worker from the state get a verification of estimated monthly hours that I would work. She placed a 3-way call and informed my supervisor of this. When she asked for an estimate my supervisor told her that, “I heard that she was on drugs”. Of course I told her that I would submit to any drug testing and she said that, “We don’t require it.” Just the day prior to the phone call, we had a 5 hour class at the office at which time I spoke with her one on one; she didn’t mention anything.

Asked on November 8, 2010 under Personal Injury, Utah

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Technically, what your supervisor has done is probably defamation, specifically slander (the spoken form): she publically (which includes even one other person) made a false (assuming it is false) statement of fact (saying someone is on drugs is a factual assertion) which would tend to damage your reputation and/or make other people not want to do business with you.

On the other hand, you can only sue for your damages--i.e. to the extent that you have in fact suffered some injury. If there were negative consequences for you, fortunately, then even though your rights may have been violated and the supervisor may be technically liable for defamation, there's nothing to sue for; without injury or damages, there is no recovery.


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