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Manager at my work was fired for embezzling $10,000. Friend of family hired him without knowing this as he used an alias.

Charlotte, NC |

This man has done this previously to others but has never been charged. He works out a settlement and repays some of the money to employers. While working with our company he also got falling down drunk and caused embarrassing situations numerous times. My parents' friend hired this man without knowing about his past. He has used different names and we assume he did not list our company on his resume as we never received a reference check on him. How can I tell the family friend about this without causing legal problems for myself? I feel terrible that he has done this to someone close to my parents who has a good company and is an ethical man. Could I be sued for slander or some employment issue since he would be fired? It is a moral dilemma for me and don't know how to handle this.

Attorney Answers 4

  1. Best answer

    Slander (otherwise known as libel or defamation) is a very difficult matter to prove. Although the elements differ from state to state, the main requirement is that you make a statement that is false or you have good reason to believe is false. If this guy stole money and admitted it, and then someone says "This guy stole money," that really isn't a false statement is it? If he got drunk and fell down the steps in front of several witnesses, then those witnesses are probably safe in saying "This guy fell down some steps and he looked drunk to me."

    So, I would say that you are pretty safe from any slander lawsuit. But, the best advice is often to keep silent anyway.

    Any other type of suit with regard to employment would have to be based on some sort of negligence on your part or on the part of your parents. If this man used an alias, they would have no reason to know of his past behavior. Again, very likely safe from suit.

    In the unlikely event that you or someone you know is sued, go see a local attorney ASAP.

  2. To avoid liability, send copies of public records that anyone can can access, such as court documents, to your family friend.

    As for the embarrassing behavior, presumably there are witnesses to these events, including your family friend, that don't require reference to public documents.

    Truth is an absolute defense to a charge of defamation, so stick to the truth. No opinions, no exaggerations, and nothing you don't know due to your wn personal knowledge because you saw it with your own eyes and heard it with your own ears and could testify under oath if required to do so.

    Avvo doesn't pay us for these responses, and I'm not your lawyer just because I answer this question or respond to any follow-up comments. If you want to hire me, please contact me. Otherwise, please don't expect a further response. We need an actual written agreement to form an attorney-client relationship. I'm only licensed in CA and you shouldn't rely on this answer, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it's impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue.

  3. You are correct. It is a moral dilemma, not a legal problem.
    A legal problem would be giving a misleading positive recommendation for someone you know to be otherwise. There is no duty to give a recommendation.
    If you start volunteering information (and here the details count) then interference with contractual relations could become an issue.

    The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advice" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyse this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am only licensed in California. See also terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.

  4. You have gotten some good answers but I am confused about the dilemma, what is it you are trying to report? The fact that the man stole $10,000? If they already fired him, it seems they already know he is a problem. Telling them about past acts won't really help anything at this point. I will agree with the previous answers that the best method is to provide public records...but the public records will not likely be clear as to those matters being him as you mentioned he uses aliases.

    It seems you are upset for your family friend and rightfully so, but unless this info can help, which I don't see how it helps based on these facts, why even engage in any risk...even if it is low.

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