Am I able to sue for slander and defamation of character?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Am I able to sue for slander and defamation of character?

I worked for a family as a nanny. I gave them my 2 weeks notice, however, when I quit they took to harassing me stating I never gave my 2 weeks notice. They smeared my name on facebook, wrote horrible reviews on and got my account terminated. Which was my only way to secure jobs. They called the police on me to say I was a missing person, which the police officer after hearing the story of what happened told me not to worry about and to contact them if they give me any more trouble. I asked them to stop harassing me and blocked them from everything. However, I just found out today that they got my account terminated, which like I said, was my livelihood and only means to get work as a nanny.

Asked on August 4, 2016 under Personal Injury, Michigan


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

If they said anything provably untrue about you, either publically generally (e.g. on Facebook or review sites) and/or to, you may be able to sue them for defamation and/or for "tortious interference with economic advantage," which means to sue for how their wrongful act (the defamation: lying about you) has interfered with you making money or earning a living.
The key is, it is only untrue *factual* statements which could be defamatory or wrongful, and as a practical matter, you need to be able to prove they are untrue. So lying about the notice you gave could be defamation, though if you did not give written (even email or text) notice, it may be difficult to prove they lied. 
On the other hand, they can express negative opinions freely, to anyone they like, and you can't sue over that--people may legally have and express opinions. So they could say they thought you were "mean," "lazy," "untrustworthy," or the "worst" nanny they'd ever had, and that is legal, since those are all opinions.
If you feel that they did make provable untrue factual statements to hurt you, speak with a personal injury attorney about your case; the same lawyers who handle car crashes and slip-and-falls are also generally the ones who handle defamation cases.

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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