Workplace Defamation Attorneys
Connecticut is an “at-will” employment state, meaning employers don’t have to give a reason to terminate someone. However, because some company policies require justification, because supervisors have to explain their firing decisions to higher-ups, or for a variety of other reasons, sometimes an employer needs to provide one. If there’s not a good reason, though, some employers have been known to make one up.
Connecticut defamation law protects employees who have been fired for knowing false reasons by employers.
Connecticut Defamed Employee Lawyer
If you’ve been terminated due to the knowingly false accusations of your supervisor or other employees, you may have a claim against your former employer. The Hartford employment lawyers for defamation at Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore can represent you. You’ve been wronged, and you deserve compensation. Fill out our online form today so that we can review the details of your defamation case.
We represent employees who have been defamed in Hartford, Milford, New Haven, Bridgeport, Stamford and throughout Connecticut. We are based in Hartford.
Necessary Elements of a Connecticut Defamation Claim
For an employee to have a successful defamation claim, certain elements must be present in their case. If you are determining whether you might have a claim for defamation, answer the following questions:
Was there a false statement of fact (as opposed to an opinion you disagreed with) made about you?
Was the statement published, meaning communicated to another person? Being included in a personnel file may meet this requirement.
Did you suffer in some way because of this, like being demoted, denied promotion or fired?
If you answered “Yes” to these questions, you may have a claim for defamation.
Connecticut False Statements Information Center
False Statement of Fact
The statement made must be a statement of fact that is false, meaning the facts it is conveying must not be true, for a defamation claim to exist. It cannot be a statement of opinion or anything that is subjective. The statement has to contain an actual fact that is not true.
Examples of statements that, if false, may constitute defamation:
“Linda stole office equipment.”
“John missed three days in a row without calling in.”
“Ann failed to meet her sales quota.”
The following statements, however, will never constitute defamation by themselves:
“I do not trust Linda.”
“John is unreliable.”
“Ann was a disappointment.”
If you are claiming a statement is false, the burden is on you and your Connecticut wrongful termination lawyer to prove that the statement is not true.
Personnel Files in Connecticut Defamation Cases
Connecticut law (General Statute § 31-128) gives employees, including former employees, the right to inspect their personnel file. A personnel file is any document, including an email, which is used to determine whether an employee is eligible to be hired, fired, promoted or disciplined.
When a supervisor is looking to terminate an employee, he or she may need to give some kind of justification for the decision, particularly if the employer’s company handbook requires specific procedures to be followed in order to fire a person. He or she may put those reasons in a personnel file.
However, if the reason given in the personnel file is false, there might be a defamation cause of action available.
Malice May Need to be Shown
In cases of defamation, an employer has a privilege for communications made within the company. That means that a lawsuit cannot be brought against them for defamation under circumstances that might normally constitute defamation. However, that privilege can be defeated if the employer showed malice. Malice can mean if the employer knew the statement was false or at least acted with conscious disregard, as decided in the Gambardella v. Apple Health Car, Inc. case.
In the case, Laurie Gambardella was an admissions counselor at an extended care facility in Waterbury run by Apple Health Care. One of the patients died. The patient’s child told Gambardella that she did not want some of the patient’s belongings, including furniture, and to do whatever she wanted with it. Gambardella accepted the property, which was against company policy.
A facilities supervisor at Apple Health Care made an investigation into the property. The patient’s child confirmed to him that she gave Gambardella the furniture. The supervisor, however, decided to report that Gambardella stole the furniture. She was fired, and others reported hearing that she was fired for “taking furniture from a dead lady.”
Gambardella sued, and won. The Connecticut Supreme Court found that her employer showed malice because they knew she did not steal the furniture, but went forward with the report, anyway.
Connecticut Workplace Defamation Attorney
You don’t have to stand for lies about you when it comes to employment decisions. If you were fired, let go, demoted or faced other negative impacts of false accusations, contact the Hartford employment lawyers for defamation at Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore. Fill out our online form so that we can examine your situation.
Obtained settlement for worker who was falsely accused of violating company policy and failing to cooperate with investigation.
Obtained six-figure settlement for financial investment company falsely accused of misconduct in the workplace.