buisness owner fires an employee. Says they were stealing, files suit aginst them

UPDATED: May 22, 2009

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buisness owner fires an employee. Says they were stealing, files suit aginst them

a buisness owner fires an employee. Says they were stealing, files suit aginst them then calls all business in the area and informs them that the employee was fired for stealing. What can be done the suit has not even gone to court yet.

Asked on May 22, 2009 under Employment Labor Law, Virginia


B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 13 years ago | Contributor

The employee needs to have a good lawyer on his side.  One place to find qualified attorneys is our website, http://attorneypages.com

Slander is a civil cause of action, for making false statements about a person that cause that person to be held in disregard or ridicule.  Sometimes, whether a statement causes that result is something to be decided, but calling someone a thief is always slander -- if it's false.  However, there are some situations in which a false statement can be made that would be slander, but a legal privilege protects the statement.

And the exact wording of what is said makes a difference.  Saying, "I fired John Jones because I thought he was stealing from us" is very different, sometimes, from saying, "John Jones was stealing from us."  The second statement might be proved to be false, but the first one is almost impossible to prove false.  Many courts also hold that a "mere opinion" cannot be slander.  The employee might try to counterclaim against the employer for slander, here, but I suspect it would be a long shot at best -- and impossible, if the theft statement is true.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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