Defamation Of Character In The Workplace

2019 words - 8 pages

Defamation of Character in the WorkplaceTable of ContentsI. IntroductionII. Definition, Types, and Examples of DefamationIII. How Employers Can Protect ThemselvesIV. How Employees Can Protect ThemselvesV. ConclusionVI. ReferencesI. IntroductionThe inability for certain individuals to find employment is oftentimes blamed on the previous employer that individual had. Nowadays many employers are being blamed and sue by former employees for giving negative references that have hindered their ability to find new employment with other agencies. Mark R. Hornak comments on this problem that employers are facing in his article titled, Avoiding Defamation in the Workplace, Giving References, and Disciplining Employees While Avoiding Liability, by stating:This blame often evolves into a lawsuit for defamation, although the theories of intentional infliction of emotional distress, interference with contract, invasion of privacy, and discrimination have all been used to make a former employer pay for an ex-employee's misfortune.Employers are now very hesitant when asked to give any type of reference on a certain individual. This can cause another type of dilemma for the new employer for they might end up hiring the wrong person for the job.There are risks involved when giving references or disciplining employees. Many employers worry that giving a reference or disciplining an employee will result in a potential defamation claim. They also have the additional worry of being held liable by another company or employer for hiring the wrong individual based off of the reference given by them. "Many employers refuse to comment on the job performance, and will only verify dates of employment, job titles and possibly salary. Yet those same employers would welcome in-depth reference information from other employers." (Rosen, Lester S.) A legal claim for defamation can entitle a person to recover for emotional damages and punitive damages. (Hurd, David, 1998) In order to avoid and/or reduce the defamation claims being filed by employees; organizations must understand the different faces and definitions of defamation, how to properly handle situations that arise, and know your rights as an employer.II. Definitions, Types, and Examples of DefamationIn order to prevent any lawsuits or grievances for defamation, it is very important for all organizations to understand the various classifications that fall under "defamation". Defamation can either be oral (slander) or written (libel). In order for a defamation claim to be established, all that is needed is the allegation that an untrue statement about a particular person was expressed or believed to be expressed to a third party. (Hornak, Mark R. September, 1999) "Libel exposes or subjects you to hatred, contempt, ridicule, or disgrace, or causes you to be shunned or avoided, or injures you in your occupation". (Hurd, David, 1998) "Slander is an oral statement that tends to injure you in respect to your office, profession,...

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