Can I sue for defamation of character and emotional distress?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can I sue for defamation of character and emotional distress?

I was fired on 05/22 at the end of my work shift, 2 hours before I got on a plane for a 1 week vacation out of state. I was told that it was for stealing and they had video evidence. The

Asked on June 4, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Nevada


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You may not have any recourse, unfortunately:
1) Employment is "employment at will" unless you had a written employment contract to the contrary. That means it is legal for you to be terminated at any time for any reason whatsoever--even unfair or factually incorrect ones. Therefore, the employer had the right to terminate you and, since they did, there is no cause of action or claim for being terminated.
2) Defamation is the making of untrue statements of fact *to other people* or third parties, which statements damage your reputation. Making an untrue allegation to you is not defamation, no matter how hurtful, unfair, or factually incorrect it is. So telling you that you are being terminated for theft is not defamation; anyone can say anything the like directly to a person and not be liable for it.
3) There is no compensation for the stress or emotional distress caused by someone doing what they have the right to do, like, for example, terminating an employee at will.

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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