Grounds for defamation lawsuit?

Asked over 3 years ago - Waynesboro, VA

I was fired from my job as an Registered Nurse by my manager who, in a written termination letter, claimed that I had improperly handled/documented controlled substances (a criminal offense.) I requested that she and her superior provide evidence( supporting documents from patients records,medical orders etc) that substantiated their claims. They failed to do so, but maintianed that I am ineligible for rehire in ANY dept. of the hospital. They are required by the State Board of Nursing to report any proof/suspicion of such charges within 30 days,and they have not, which I think helps to substantiate my claim that their statements about me are false. I immediately seeked employment elsewhere, and was declined a position for which I am fully qualified after they contacted my prior manager

Attorney answers (1)

  1. Mitchell Paul Goldstein

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . Virginia is an at will state and you can be fired for any reason that is not specifically prohibited by law. The reason here is not one of those reasons. Now for defamation, you must prove that the statements were false, were communicated to another party, and that those statements caused damage. This is a difficult burden to meet. In this case, you also have to prove that the prior employer told the prospective employer something that fits into the definition of defamation.

    [I am a Virginia-licensed attorney. This communication is intended as general information and not specific legal advice, and this communication does not create an attorney-client relationship.]

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