If I was fired from a small town coffee shop for getting in an argument with my employer and he then sladered me, what are my rights?

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If I was fired from a small town coffee shop for getting in an argument with my employer and he then sladered me, what are my rights?

I said absolutely nothing to him that was offensive or mean, while that’s exactly what he threw at me. After being fired, he has told several individuals that I have been stealing from the shop and it has cost me my second job and will make it very difficult to get another job in my area. I just want to move on, and now I have this following me around. I want to press charges for harassment and slandering, any advice would help me tremendously. I did ot steal any money and the acclaimed currency missing was about $12. This is ridiculous and I don’t know how to handle the situation.

Asked on November 30, 2012 under Personal Injury, Oregon

Answers:

Catherine Blackburn / Blackburn Law Firm

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

I suggest you consult a lawyer in your area.  Slander actions are difficult, but it sounds like you could have a legitimate claim.

In most states, a former employer has what is called a "qualified privilege" to disclose information about a former employee.  This means that you can't sue for slander unless the employer said something "maliciously," which is defined as knowing the statement is false or being reckless about the truth of the statement.  If you did not steal any money and your former employer is saying you did steal money, he knows that is false.  This makes his statements malicious and you could bring a lawsuit.

I suggest you speak with a lawyer about sending a letter to the former employer advising that he stop making false statements about you.  I don't know what will mitigate the damage he has already done.  Taking the next step of bringing a lawsuit may harm you more than help.  Consider what potential new employers would think about someone who sued her former employer.  Right or wrong, most employers do not want to hire someone who is going to be trouble.  Sometimes, we are best served to let situations like this die out on their own.

Good luck.


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