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

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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

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 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.


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