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Defamation of Character


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#1 InSearchOfAnswers

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 09:59 AM

I worked in a California nonprofit agency where I supervised five employees.  After one of the employees quit, he wrote an email to all twelve of the Board Members telling them I was a terrible boss and not fit to be the head of the organization and implied that I had used company funds to purchase personal items.   The Board brought in an attorney to investigate my behavior and whether the allegations were true, and all the remaining employees were interviewed.  I was found to be innocent of the allegations. 


However, since that time, I have been unable to supervise the staff properly because they know that all they have to do is make a complaint to the Board who do not support me. Should the Board have been allowed to tell the other employees about the complaint?


Not long after this incident, I was removed from supervisory duties and placed as a subordinate to a person I had previously supervised.  Following that, my benefits were reduced,then my pay was reduced and then I was laid off. 


My questions are - do I have a case of defamation of character against the disgruntled employee for loss of pay  due to his false accusations, and do I also have a case against the Board for discrimination against me based on his email, since up until that time, I had been the Supervisor for eight years with perfect employee reviews. 



#2 Fallen

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 02:55 AM

"Should the Board have been allowed to tell the other employees about the complaint?"

There's nothing unlawful about it if that's what you're asking.


You're free to spend money on suing the former worker, sure. 


You haven't described unlawful discrimination, and it doesn't sound as though the employer just took the worker at his/her word about your accusations since you say an investigation was conducted and you were found "innocent" (though while it didn't involve a criminal matter, so that word isn't exactly appropriate).  I don't see the basis for a case against the employer.


I'll echo PG's advisory "warning" with a twist: (Many) legal issues are complicated. Explanations and comments here might not fully identify or explain the ramifications of your particular problem. I do not give legal advice as such (and such is impermissible here at any rate). Comments are based on personal knowledge and experience and legal info gleaned over a quarter century, and every state has differing laws on and avenues to address most topics.  If you need legal advice, you need to consult (and pay) a professional so that you may have someone to hold accountable.  Acting on personal and informational advice from a stranger on the internet is a bad idea -- at least not without your own thorough due dilience/research and confirmation as it applies to your situation.  :)





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