Am I able to sue my former employer for lost wages for something that they said to a prospective employer?

UPDATED: Dec 17, 2011

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Am I able to sue my former employer for lost wages for something that they said to a prospective employer?

A former employer spoke to a perspective employer about a legal matter of which I was not tried or convicted. I did not get the job with the new employer who had already given me salary information and date of start. They simply questioned me on what was said and stopped all contact with me. I was out of work for 13 months because of this.

Asked on December 17, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, North Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

IF what the former employer said was a false negative statement of fact about you, you may have a claim for defamation and might be able to receive compensation. If you think this might be the case, you should consult with a personal injury attorney.

However, note that 1) a true fact, no matter how negative, is not defamation--so if what they said about the legal matter was true, then even if you were never tried or convicted, that is not defamation; and 2) opinions (such as "I would not trust John/Jane Doe") are also not defamation.

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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