First things first, right? I would think you'd want to save your job, so first consult with an Arizona employment lawyer to learn how you might do that. After your employment picture is rosy again, you can then explore your lawsuit options. Good luck!
If you think my response is the best response, it would help me if you would indicate that. Also, please note that my responses to question(s) are NOT legal advice from me to you because I am NOT your lawyer, you are NOT my client, and we do NOT currently have an attorney-client relationship. Thanks!
I agree with Mr. Castagliuolo that it may be premature to consider filing a defamation action. But I provide some information below that may be helpful.
In Arizona, defamation claims must be filed within one year. If a fellow employee made a false and derogatory statement about you to your employer or other employees and that statement harmed your reputation or career, then you were probably defamed. But depending on the circumstances, the employee may have had a qualified privilege to make the statement. If the employee had a qualified privilege to make the statement, he would be immune from liability unless (1) he knew the statement was false when he made it, (2) recklessly disregarded whether the statement was false when he made it, or (3) made the statement to more people than he had a duty to make it. Employees have a qualified privilege to make derogatory statements if they have a duty to make the statements or they make the statements to people who have a common interest in the statements' subject matter.
Be sure to document or collect all the written, spoken, audio recorded, video recorded, or photographic evidence that someone has written or spoken or implied false and derogatory statements about you. Document the names of the people who read or heard the statements, the dates they read or heard them, and from whom they read or heard them. Document whether the people who read or heard the statements believed them and whether their opinions of you changed for the worse after they read or heard the statements. Document your expenses and economic losses. Also document the time or money you spent investigating.
If you determine that someone made a false and derogatory statement about you and that statement cost you your reputation or your job, there could be other viable claims an attorney could help you pursue, such as false light invasion of privacy or intentional interference with business contracts or relations. These claims must be filed within two years.
The Arizona Harassment statute can be found here:
If you have been harassed, report it to the local law enforcement agency and file a complaint in writing to make sure your complaint becomes a public record.
Consult a local labor and employment attorney to investigate the situation and protect your rights as an employee. If the statements make against you were false, were made public and caused you damages than you would have a claim for defamation.
Call for a free consultation at 727-937-1400 or visit us on the Web at www.serviceandjustice.com.
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