I took FMLA leave and informed my supervisor I would be out the rest of the month on FMLA. She said ok and she even wrote me a sincere note saying she hopes I get better soon. Then 2 weeks later I hear from 2 different co-workers that the whole office is talking about me and saying I planned this out and I am faking it. They are saying I'm really taking a vacation. They've even said I am not really sick and using the system. Then my supervisor ent me 2 letters one saying I was AWOL, even though I told her I was taking FMLA. THe other letter said I was disqualifed from FMLA for not turning in papers on time. I believe she is "feeding" into what my co-workers are saying about me, which is slanderous. It really stressed me out because none of it is true. I have doctors notes and everything.
Employment / Labor Attorney
The legal definition of slander in California is as follows:
Slander is a false and unprivileged publication, orally uttered, and also communications by radio or any mechanical or other means which:
1. Charges any person with crime, or with having been indicted, convicted, or punished for crime;
2. Imputes in him the present existence of an infectious, contagious, or loathsome disease;
3. Tends directly to injure him in respect to his office, profession, trade or business, either by imputing to him general disqualification in those respects which the office or other
occupation peculiarly requires, or by imputing something with reference to his office, profession, trade, or business that has a natural tendency to lessen its profits;
4. Imputes to him impotence or a want of chastity; or
5. Which, by natural consequence, causes actual damage.
Before you undertake to pursue a slander case, you should carefully consider the possibility of an Anti-SLAPP suit. SLAPP stands for "Strategic Litigation Against Protected Participation." This is a special motion to strike that essentially alleges that your lawsuit for slander is designed to prevent the speaker from exercising her Constitutional right of free speech. Losing an Anti-SLAPP claim exposes you to the possibility of paying the other side's costs, including attorney's fees.
The field of defamation (of which slander is a variety) and Anti-SLAPP litigation is complicated, and it is best that you seek the counsel of an experience attorney before making a decision about moving forward. A competent lawyer can help you safely navigate your case to protect your reputation but also keep you insulated from potential negative repercussions.
With respect to your FMLA claims, you would need to provide additional information before a more specific response would be possible.
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Personal Injury Lawyer
Defamation requires proof that incorrect statements of fact, not opinion, were made to third parties and that it caused harm to you. Here is a link to a guide on defamation law to help you determine whether the law applies to your circumstances.
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I agree with Attorney Gavin. Lawsuits involving defamation (slander and libel) and anti-SLAPP litigation are extremely complicated, and you may end up having the pay the other side's attorney's fees if you lose.
Therefore, you should definitely seek the counsel of an experience attorney before making a decision about proceeding with any lawsuit.