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What does a person need to establish to pursue a libel/slander lawsuit

Merced, CA |

In March, I had been humiliated, laughed at, harassed, and slandered by co-workers who wrote up a false paper about me and had eight people sign it saying it is true. After a meeting that I was present at, all of them stated that none of it pertained to them, yet they signed it. No one was repromanded for what they did to me. Now in September, one of the girls stole my cell phone and tried to get the kitchen girl to take it home and get rid of it. Kitchen girl reported this to me as she was the one that saw her with the phone, saw her turn the phone off, and hide it in a closet as she didnt want to get involved. I reported it to my administrator and he did nothing about it. He said that corporate said that no one actually seen her take it from its designated place. He then threatened me telling me that I better be careful that the tables dont get turned on me. He told me not to be retaliating and making comments. He then left and I been horrified to lose my job. Can they do this to me?

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Attorney answers 1


You have to establish damages to pursue a libel (written defamation) and slander (spoken defamation) suit. It does not sound like you have suffered any damages as a consequence of the March incident.

Your facts about the phone incident are a bit confusing, but it is unlikely you could be fired for this situation. Most employers will provide you at least three warnings before termination, although that is not required because California is an "at-will" employment state, which means that unless you have a written employment contract, you can be terminated at any time for any reason. Some lawyers will disagree with this last statement and argue that you must have notice, but employers generally only provide notice to avoid wrongful termination lawsuits. In any event, focus on performing your job, not getting into disputes with your co-workers and all should be fine.

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