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Can I sue my boss for defamation?

If you were recently terminated or let go from your job in Milwaukee, you might be wondering if any of your rights were violated in the process, or if you have the right to sue an employer for making disparaging comments about you. The answer might depend on the circumstances surrounding your claims. 

Rumors in the workplace can make the environment unpleasant and toxic. Though you may have heard some about you and others before your termination, not everything you heard is defamatory. It is important for you to know what classifies as employment defamation. Here are some elements that you must be able to prove when filing a defamation/workplace harassment claim against your employer: 

What is defamation? 

Defamation is when someone makes statements about an individual that causes damage to her or his reputation. If the statements are on paper, in an email or written down, the defamation is libel. Verbal defaming comments are called slander. Most incidents of employee defamation become known after termination or some other type of disciplinary action has occurred. However, if your employer’s allegedly defamatory statements are that person expressing opinions, you may not have a valid employment defamation claim. 

What classifies as employment defamation? 

Your employer’s alleged defamation statement must cause harm. For example, you were applying for another position at work or with another employer. You believe your employer made some defaming statements to keep you from being promoted or hired. Keep in mind that if your employer makes defamatory per se statements, such as: 

  •        You engaged in sexual misconduct or sexual harassment.
  •        Your employee claims you have a contagious illness when you do not.
  •        During the course of employment, your behavior was not proper for work.
  •        You committed a crime or took part in criminal activity. 

Defamatory per se statements do not require you to prove your claim. It is important for you to keep evidence of every instance you believe your coworkers, supervisors and employers are infringing upon your employment rights. You should also document witnesses, too.

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