Can an employer make up lies about their employees without any justification or facts to back it up?

UPDATED: Jan 13, 2012

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Can an employer make up lies about their employees without any justification or facts to back it up?

Our employer made comments about one of employees which is totally untrue and can be verified. The employee’s reputation is being ruined based on false statements, is this allowed?

Asked on January 13, 2012 under Personal Injury, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Defamation is when someone--including a business--publically makes untrue statements of fact about a person, which damages that person's reputation and/or causes others to not want to work with or do business with him/her. "Publically" in this context means to any third parties, including coworkers or customers.

So if the employer is making negative, false factual statemens, the employee may have a claim or cause of action for defamation. (Note: true facts, no matter how negative, would not be defamation; and opinions 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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