Lying to the Police

I have recently applied for a police officers position, listing one of my former employers job as a reference. I had to list all previous employers for the Personal History Questionnaire, during my Background Investigation my former "Boss", falsely accused me being fired for "destruction of property" and for trying to rip him off. Both of which are total lies, I actually quit because of non payment and tried to collect the debt but was unable to do so. Obviously, I was not hired after this report came through, (I passed all other requirements). I just got off the phone with my recruiter and this is the reason he gave me. Am I able to take him to court for defamation and collect? Or at least force a confession of his lying?

A 25 year career would have paid a minimum of 1,250,000.00 plus health benefits and retirement

1 answer  |  asked Feb 7, 2008 3:01 PM [EST]  |  applies to Ohio

Answers (1)

Neil Klingshirn
You may have a claim for defamation

This is a tragic situation. No one should be able to do this to someone else's career.

The law may provide you a remedy, but there are several hurdles.

Your remedy would be in the law of defamation. If someone says something untrue that harms your reputation, you can recover money damages for the harm to your reputation. Here, the former employer made an untrue report to the PD recruiter, which appears to be the reason why you did not get the job.

The first hurdle that you face is the qualified privilege that the law gives to an employer who provides a response to a reference request. The privilege protects the employer from a defamation case for what it reports in response to a reference request, which is what happened here. In other words, the privilege is a defense to your defamation claim, so the fact that the defamation occurred in the context of a reference request means that the former employer has a pretty good defense to your claim.

However, the privilege is "qualified," which means that it has its limits. The former employer loses the privilege if the reference request is made maliciously. You have to prove malice. However, in this case, you might be able to do so, as it looks like the employer was getting you back for trying to collect what it owed you.

Another hurdle will be the causation between the reference and the loss of the opportunity. The employer will be able to introduce evidence suggesting that you might not have landed the job, even without the defamatory statement.

To explore the viability of your claim further, we offer an initial consultation. If you would like to consult on your case, call Jenny at 330.665.5445, ext. 0 and she can get you on my calendar.

Best regards,


posted by Neil Klingshirn  |  Feb 8, 2008 09:40 AM [EST]

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