Is it workplace harassment or slander if employer (member of a board) tells others around town that I have been fired?

Asked over 1 year ago - Dodge Center, MN

A member of a board that oversees the operations of an American legion where I am employed has told others in town that I have been fired, that I will be fired, and that I need to go. Yet I am still employed with no notice of termination. Patrons have told me they were surprised at my employment when they come in because they have heard I was fired. I am aware of a plan to replace me with another individual and have been subjected to a barrage of slander and rumors spread by members of this board out to the public. I am not alone as the target of slander as applicants have been slandered in hiring discussions to prevent their employment such as saying they are likely to steal, etc.

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Adam William Klotz

    Pro

    Contributor Level 12

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    1

    Answered . More facts are needed. Consult counsel to further discuss.

    As a general matter, to establish a claim for defamation, a plaintiff must demonstrate the following elements: (1) a defamatory statement; (2) published to a third person; (3) which is false; and (4) that tends to harm his/her reputation and to lower him in the estimation of the community. The statute of limitations for defamation claims in Minnesota is two years.

    When in the workplace, the larger issue will be whether or not the statement/writing was made in good faith and upon a proper occasion, from a proper motive, and was based on reasonable or probable cause, or if the alleged defamatory statement/writing was made with malice. When the latter, you likely have a viable claim.

    As you might surmise, a defamation analysis is very fact specific. Again, consult with an attorney to learn of your legal recourse, if any. Many employment attorneys, including myself, offer free consultations and would be glad to further discuss.

    Adam W. Klotz
    FREE CONSULTATIONS- 612.223.6767 ext. 3

    The materials appearing on this website are provided for informational use only, and are in no way intended to... more
  2. Christian K. Lassen II

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Sounds like an opinion, which is not defamation.

  3. Stanley N Zahorsky

    Contributor Level 9

    Answered . In certain cases, employers have been held liable for the release of information related to employment. There are not enough facts to establish whether this is one of those cases. Generally, it is dangerous for an employer to release information about a former employee other than name and dates of employment. From the facts presented it is unknown whether you may have a cause of action against the American Legion as a result of the statements of a Board Member. Other facts would be needed, including the reasons for potential termination, before a legal analysis could be made of your legal remedies.

    Nothing in this answer should be construed as legal advise and does not establish an attorney-client relationship... more

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