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I would like to know if i can sue my former employer for slander, libel, defamation or for not paying me final check immediately

Santa Rosa, CA |

Hello- On feb 4th- I was rudely cursed at in an email, rudely commented on the phone to, and skyped rude messages by a co-worker. I complained to the CEO about it. The co-worker is the CEO's nephew. The CEO thanked me and said "I did the right thing" and "he would take care of it". I then got two more sarcastic remarks from the co-worker. "Thanks for calling Gene"(the CEO) and "Fine you can be your own boss and deal with Gene directly"! I cut off all communication with the coworker and called the CEO- he said he would come to my house the next day and discuss with me. He came over with a letter in his hand and terminated me. He said the reasons were in the letter. In the letter I was called a liar and that I had lost the company 3100 in error. None of which is true. Do I have a case?

Attorney Answers 4

Posted

Did he or did he not pay you your final check at the time he let you go?
If he did, I do not think you have anything? Not sure though.
If he did NOT , you do have a claim.

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Posted

Defamation can come in the form of slander or libel. And, one of the requirements for a successful defamation claim is that the defamatory statement be communicated to some third-party. In your case, the statements that you claim are defamatory were stated in a letter that only you and your former boss have seen. So, based on the facts you have provided, you would not succeed if you were to sue for defamation.

Now, as for suing for your paycheck, generally, an employer must give a fired employee their final paycheck immediately.

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Asker

Posted

I am pretty sure that the co-worker wrote the letter and the CEO signed it, as it has both of their names on it. Does that make a difference?

Posted

No, you would not have a viable case for slander, libel or defamation.

However, you have a claim for unpaid wages and for waiting time penalties. See:

http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/faq_waitingtimepenalty.htm

Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This Avvo.com posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your own attorney.

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Posted

Consult with a local employment atty. You might possibly have a claim for wrongful discharge, depending upon the type of employment you had, etc. You can file a claim thru the Labor Commissioner's office for wages and accrued vacation pay, along with penalties. They are supposed to pay you immediately upon termination.

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