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Ex-employee Defamation and Slander

Homewood, IL |

It is possible to sue an ex-employee for slander and defamation? The ex-employee was insubordinate so I fired her. Shortly thereafter she filed a bogus complaint with the attorney general's office stating that my business is a fraud and I've committed deceptive practices. She then proceeded to contact potential clients, past and present clients and she stated to them that my company was a fraud and that I was being charged with deceptive practices, She also stated to a clients that I am having sexual relations with another client. As a result that client decided not to conduct business with me. Additionally, she encouraged another client to request a refund and file a bogus complaint with the attorney general's office as well. None of what she states is true. Can I sue her?

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Attorney answers 5

Posted

Sit down with a defamation attorney to discuss.

Defamation is defined as the publication of one or more false and unprivileged statements of fact to one or more third parties concerning an identifiable party, which harms that party's reputation.
In Illinois, a statement can be defamatory per se, where its meaning is apparent on its face and there is no need to prove actual harm. Some examples, where injury to reputation is presumed, are as follows: stating that someone committed a criminal offense; stating that someone is unable to perform his or her job duties or lacks integrity with respect to the discharge of same; stating that a person lacks ability with respect to his or her trade, profession, or business or something else that prejudices the person in that area; and a statement that imputes adultery or fornication. Assigning a monetary figure to presumed damages (mental suffering, harm to personal and professional reputation as well as standing in the community, economic loss, and personal humiliation) can be very difficult; it tends to be an inexact and arbitrary process.

Alternatively, the statement can be defamatory per quod, requiring extrinsic evidence (where the defamatory character of the statement does not appear on its face). A statement that is defamatory on its face but does not fall within one of the five categories is also per quod.

Some defenses to a defamatory statement include truth, consent, innocent construction, absolute privilege (e.g., a statement made in a judicial or legislative proceeding, or to the police), conditional or qualified privilege, and opinion.

False light invasion of privacy is a cause of action that is oftentimes plead (in the alternative) along with defamation.

Whether it makes sense, financially and otherwise, for you to proceed is a decision that you would need to make. You would likely only find attorneys to take the case (assuming you have one) on an hourly basis, with security retainer. It is unlikely that the other person is insured against such claims and if she does not have much in the way of non-exempt assets to satisfy all or part of any judgment you obtained against it, it probably does not make sense to proceed even if you have one or more viable causes of action against her.

Hope this helps. Good luck.

Robert T. Kuehl
Kuehl Law, P.C.
Chicago, Illinois
312-840-8270
Email: bob@kuehllawpc.com
Website: www.kuehllawpc.com

Robert Thomas Kuehl

Robert Thomas Kuehl

Posted

should be "against her" as opposed to "against it" in the next to the last paragraph

Posted

You may have a tortious interference with business relations claim as well, so have a local lawyer investigate

Asker

Posted

I reside in Illinois. Can you recommend anyone here? Or, what type of attorney do I hire, personal injury?

Posted

Chris is correct, the question now will be what are your damages and does that ex employee have monies sufficient to pay you, if you win?

My name is Stephen R. Cohen and have practiced since 1974. I practice in Los Angeles and Orange County, CA. These answers do not create an attorney client relationship. My answers may offend I believe in telling the truth, I use common sense as well as the law. Other state's laws may differ.. There are a lot of really good attorneys on this site, I will do limited appearances which are preparation of court documents it is , less expensive. However generally I believe an attorney is better than none.

Asker

Posted

I reside in Illinois. Can you recommend anyone here? Or, what type of attorney do I hire, personal injury?

Posted

The problem with suing is collectibility. Does she have assets? You should talk to a qualified lawyer about this

The information provided is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. I am only licensed in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and I am not providing you with specific legal advice. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Being general in nature, the information provided may not apply to any specific factual and/or legal set of circumstances and/or the jurisdiction where you reside. No attorney-client relationship is formed nor should any such relationship be implied. The information provided is of a general nature is not intended to substitute for the advice of an attorney, especially an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction. Your question, although you may believe is simple, it is not simple. You require legal advice, please consult with a competent attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.

Asker

Posted

I reside in Illinois. Can you recommend anyone here? Or, what type of attorney do I hire, personal injury?

Samuel Cohen

Samuel Cohen

Posted

There are some lawyers who concentrate in handling defamation cases. If you can find one of those, that would be ideal. If not, a personal injury lawyer should be able to help you. Good luck!

Posted

Suing individuals is problematic because they often have no assets. Even if they have assets, collecting will be tough because they can discharge any judgment in bankruptcy.

It sounds like you have little remedy against this woman.

This answer is intended as informational only, and does not constitute legal advice or form an attorney-client relationship between us.

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