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Is it libel if an employer puts on an employment verification letter that you were terminated if you were not?

San Diego, CA |

If you worked for a company and quit and they put on an employment verification letter that you were terminated is that considered libel if the employment verification was submitted to you in order to submit to another company and not sent directly to the company?

Attorney Answers 3


It probably is in California. Generally, things you say about yourself are not libelous. But California courts have recognized that people who is forced, for some reason, to repeat falsities that someone else has said about them have suffered injury just as much as those about whom the person says things directly.

The problem with defamation in these instances is showing that you were harmed: that you would have had the job but for the libel.

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In many businesses and fields, the term "termination," as specifically used in an employment verification document, merely means that the period of employment ended on the date reported. Unless the form purports to define the reason for the ending of the employment relationship, or the nature of the end of the relationship, it is unlikely that the term "termination" on your document has a negative denotation or connotation and it is likely that use of this term in this context would not suffice for any defamation claim. Take your doc to a local employment attorney for a specific discussion in you believe that the form has a larger message than reporting or verifying the dates of commencement and termination of the employment.

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It may be defamatory IF the person who wrote the document knew that the information was false and that the person or people who read it would believe it and rely on it and if it caused you damages (loss of job opportunity.) If it was a mistake or their opinion, it will not be libelous.

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