Defamation in employment cases involves a false statement made by an employer or employee that harms the reputation of an individual in their workplace or industry. Defamation can occur in many forms, including written or spoken statements, social media posts, or gestures. In order to prove defamation in an employment case, the following elements must be met:
False statement: The statement made about the employee must be false. Truth is a defense to defamation, so if the statement is true, it is not considered defamatory.
Publication: The false statement must be communicated to a third party, which can include coworkers, customers, or even social media followers. It is not necessary for the statement to be widely circulated to be considered defamatory.
Harm: The false statement must have caused harm to the employee's reputation or ability to work. Harm can include damage to their professional reputation, loss of job opportunities, or emotional distress.