What are my rights if my employer is accusing me of stealing money and telling customers of this?

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What are my rights if my employer is accusing me of stealing money and telling customers of this?

I have been approached by 3 regular customers of mine and they wanted me to know that my employer was telling them, at different times, that I’ve been stealing money from the bar. They also said that he said that Ihad stolen thousands and thousands of dollars from him. I’ve confronted him recently and he swears that he didn’t say any of these things. However 3 different people who don’t socialize with each other came to me individually within a 2 week period and told me almost the very same story. It’s making me ill; I can’t sleep. I am not a thief.

Asked on June 17, 2011 under Personal Injury, Texas

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You could sue your employer for defamation.  Defamation is a false statement made with knowledge of its falsity communicated to a third person which is injurious to your reputation. 

Your employer's statements to the customers falsely accusing you of stealing would constitute false statements made with knowledge of their falsity communicated to third parties and the statements are injurious to your reputation.  Slander is spoken defamation.  Libel is written defamation.

Each repetition of the false statement is actionable as a separate incident of defamation.  You can only file one lawsuit for defamation.  Your lawsuit should also include an additional cause of action  (claim) for intentional infliction of emotional distress.  Intentional infliction of emotional distress is an extreme and outrageous act intended to cause and which does cause you emotional distress.  Becoming ill and not sleeping as a result of the defamatory statements of your employer would be evidence of emotional distress.


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