Since one cannot sue for personal opinions, only for statements of fact that are malicious and patently untrue and for variety of other reasons, an action for defamamtion of character is not the best avenue for most people. You should consider other options. For example, you could write to your HR Departmnent in a straightforward manner asking them to prevent further badmouthing. You should furnish examples of the factual statements said about you that were false. You may also file a complaint with the Labor Department in Alabama for retailiatory action against you as a potential whistleblower.
One thing you have to prove in a potential slander case like you are describing is money damages. You would have to show that you lost a potential job due to your prior employer’s defamatory statements about you to a prospective employer.
Even if you did not specifically consent to your prior boss’s right to offer evaluations of you to your prospective employers, your prior boss would typically be “protected by a conditional or qualified privilege.” That is, so long as they don’t spread falsehoods about you or speak about you negatively for improper reasons, they may be within their rights to speak about your known work experience and personal disposition.
You should contact a local personal injury attorney to discuss your facts with them. You should inquire about the statute of limitations for slander (oral) or libel (written) defamation.
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The other attorneys have provided you with good information about your situation. Defamation cases in Alabama can be difficult to prove and the potential damages are often speculative. I have attached a link to a Legal Guide I wrote on this topic and would encourage you to review it and then consider whether you should consult with an attorney in your town or city.
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