Not quite defamation, but........

I was recently laid off from a white-collar technical position. Immediately after, my ex-boss sent a division-wide email (several-hundred recipients) announcing my layoff and adding his "opinion" that he needed to replace me with a "higher skilled" worker, implying that my skills are low. While not defamation because it is an opinion, it was certainly unnecessary, derrogatory, and reputation-damaging and affects my future job-hunting. Although I may not have a case under "defamation", might I have a case under some similar law that prevents employers from publicizing derrogatory opinions about employees? Thanks.

2 answers  |  asked Apr 22, 2003 3:43 PM [EST]  |  applies to California

Answers (2)

Joan Herrington
Not Quite Defamation, but

It sounds like defamation to me given that the people who "receive" the message can assume that the supervisor expressing the "opinion" has special knowledge not available to them. See, e.g., Jensen v. Hewlett-Packard Co. (1993) 14 Cal.App.4th 958.

posted by Joan Herrington  |  May 1, 2003 6:49 PM [EST]
Janet M. Koehn
why not?

don't be so quick to assume the conduct you described is not defamation. if the statements have the "innuendo" of casting aspersions on your qualifications, and were published internally, but to persons with no need to know, you may well have a defamation claim. you need to contact an attorney experienced in employment law, and in particular in defamation. because you did not indicate your city, i cannot refer you. good luck
janet m. koehn
805-658-0655

posted by Janet M. Koehn  |  Apr 22, 2003 10:02 PM [EST]

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