Do I have grounds for defamation law suit?

So I have worked for a company for about 6 months, the supervisor and I got into plenty of arguments and did not get along for most of the time. At some point when I thought things are going good, the supervisor called me into his office and told me that "they cannot afford me anymore and I am being let go" so I took it to the unemployment office I received my benefits for 2 weeks when suddenly it got cut off and I was told that my previous employer said I was fired and not laid off. I took it to appeals court and in one of the documents that same supervisor claimed in writing that I was fraudulently claiming unemployment benefits while working "under the table" for a different company. I have proof that I was employed only 3 months after I was let go and had no source of income in the meanwhile as opposed to his claim. I lost the appeals court and am unemployed having a tough time finding a job and am not getting any unemployment benefits. I was wondering if what was written and submitted to the appeals court has any affect on my current situation and whether I have grounds for a law suit.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.

1 answer  |  asked Jun 1, 2011 11:30 PM [EST]  |  applies to California

Answers (1)

Janet M. Koehn
Anything that is said or submitted to any legal tribunal, including a court or appeal board, is covered by the "litigation privilege" exception to the usual rules of defamation. Even if you proved what was said was not true (which you obviously did not, otherwise you would have prevailed in your administrative hearing), it still would be protected conduct and you would not be able to pursue the falsehood.

However, keep an eye out for falsehoods this employer repeats to any potential employer of yours. That is a statutory claim as well as common law defamation, for which you can get treble damages.

posted by Janet M. Koehn  |  Jun 2, 2011 02:03 AM [EST]

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