Springfield, Massachusetts Wrongful Termination and Defamation Attorney
On most career paths, an individual’s reputation is very important to his or her continued advancement. You work hard to make a good impression on your supervisors, colleagues, and clients so you can stay employed and receive raises and promotions. A lie about your performance or character can hurt your reputation at work, sometimes permanently. Beyond hurting your feelings, it can cause you to suffer financially by keeping you from the promotions and raises you would have earned if your reputation had not been tarnished.
Defamation is the act of making a false statement about an individual in a deliberate effort to hurt his or her reputation. A false accusation is a type of defamation, but it is not the only type of defamation that can occur in the workplace. When an individual is fired because of a false accusation or another defamatory remark, he or she may also be a victim of wrongful termination.
If you believe that you have been the victim of defamation or false accusations at work, or if you have been wrongfully terminated, you should discuss what happened with a skilled employment attorney at the Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore. We have handled many complex employment cases and will stand up for your rights.
How Can Defamation Hurt Your Career?
A false accusation can change your reputation in the workplace and beyond. It can cause anybody who hears the accusation, even secondhand, to develop a negative opinion of your character or your work history.
False accusations can be about anything. They can be minor, or they can allege serious criminal offenses. When a false accusation hurts your reputation in the workplace and causes you to suffer financial damages, you have the right to take action against the perpetrating party through a false accusation claim. Examples of false accusations include:
- Accusations of harassment
- False statements regarding termination from previous employment
- Allegations of sharing trade secrets
- Accusations of violating company policy
- Claims of theft
Examples of Workplace Defamation
Defamation is the act of tarnishing another person’s character and it is generally done to sway others’ opinions of that individual. It is important to note that for a statement to be considered an act of defamation, it must be a false statement. Making truthful statements about an individual’s actions are not acts of defamation– they are simply stating true facts.
Defamation can take many forms. Libel is the act of writing damaging statements and slander is the act of making such statements verbally. For a statement in either category to be considered defamatory, it must meet the following criteria:
- It must be published or made publicly. This means it can be spoken aloud in office or sent via email or memo. Sometimes reports of wrongdoing after an investigation can contain false statements. Termination letters that are put in your personnel file are considered “published.”
- It must be objectively false and not a matter of opinion. For example, saying that a colleague is ugly is not an act of slander because it is a matter of opinion. Saying that a colleague has a sexual relationship with the boss when he or she actually does not is an act of slander.
- The statement must be injurious in some way. This means that it must result in actual damages for the victim.
- The person making the claims must have acted with malice, meaning that the statements must have been made recklessly or with improper intent.
How defamation can hurt your career is obvious: Your colleagues, supervisors, clients, and potential employers can make assumptions about your character after hearing a defamatory statement and choose not to work with you, making it difficult or impossible for you to earn a living.
What Can I Do if I Am Fired Because of a False Accusation or an Act of Defamation?
Employees who have been fired because of false accusations or defamation can file a lawsuit for wrongful termination. An experienced Massachusetts employment attorney at Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore can help bring this lawsuit after you have been terminated.
You must be able to prove that the party who made defamatory statements about you did so with malicious intent or with reckless disregard for it to constitute defamation. It is, therefore, important to keep a solid record of every instance of defamation you faced and how it affected you financially. This can mean more than the initial expense of losing your job. If you sought psychological counseling to overcome the trauma of the accusations, spent money on a job search, or lost health benefits, you can seek compensation for these expenses in your lawsuit.
Schedule a Consultation with an Experienced Springfield Employment Lawyer
If you have experienced defamation in your workplace, it is critical that you discuss your situation with a skilled employment attorney who understands the laws surrounding wrongful termination, false accusations, and defamation. Our team of employment lawyers at Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore knows how to take action to seek the compensation you deserve. You can have an experienced Springfield employment attorney review your case by filling out our online questionnaire or by calling our office today at 413-417-7035.