What should I do legally to restore my reputation at work after someone spread lies about me?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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What should I do legally to restore my reputation at work after someone spread lies about me?

I work in a restaurant, and one of my bartenders is telling other coworkers that I stole another server’s tip off of a table. I was closing the restaurant, and a server came to me complaining about getting no tip on a credit card payment from a table of three guys. The guys had been sitting there a while after paying, and the server wanted to leave. So, since I had to stay anyway, I told her I would clean the table after they left, and if they left a cash tip, I would put it in the office for her. The server left, the guys left, and I cleaned the table. There was no money left on the table. I brought my checkout, paperwork from the evening’s sales, to the bartender and started chit chatting about the evening. I told her about the server being stiffed on the three top, and she started staring at me. I stared back. It was pretty weird. Now she’s telling people I stole a tip off the table.

Asked on March 5, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Nebraska


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

All you can do is tell the person spreading rumors that if they continue, you will sue them for defamation. Defamation is when someone makes an untrue statement of fact which damages your reputation--such as a false claim that committed theft. If the person does not desist, you could follow through and sue them. You might not be able yo get much money, unless you can show some monetary loss (like loss of a job, if you get fired), but you could possibly get vindication.

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