There is no easy answer to this question and I would need more information to give you a definitive response. Generally, statements that are contained in court pleadings, a complaint, etc., are not actionable as defamation. However, if there were defamatory statements made by your manager or director in another context, on the internet for example, you may have a claim for defamation for those statements. Please be aware, there are very strict statutes of limitations for defamation. Here in NY it is one year from the statement. It would be easy enough for you to check the NC rule. Since it is an intentional tort, the statute is generally tighter as compared to a negligence claim, for example. Good luck!
If you think your employment case was tough, just try filing a defamation case. The law heavily favors defendants due to First Amendment policy considerations. Statements made in court papers are absolutely privileged, for openers.
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