not sure what to do about a former employer bad mouthing me

my former employer let me go last month. i have been contacted by former clients telling me he is calling them threatening if they help me find another position ( not within their companies, just a general resume pass ) they cannot expect to do business with him or success. I did not refer any of these people to contact him for a reference, he has done this on his own. I did not do anything to be fired except not go along with all his sexual banter or drunken inappropriate comments. I do not wish to sue on sexual harrassment, but the contacting of contacts to smear me is troubling. As i am out of work and did not receive much of my last paycheck so i cannot pay for a consultation. I am just curious if to pursue or how and why. Again, i am not sending these people to this man. He is contacting them himself when hearing so and so sent my resume on to a contact in another company. Help!

1 answer  |  asked Apr 7, 2009 5:03 PM [EST]  |  applies to Ohio

Answers (1)

Neil Klingshirn
Defamation and retaliation

If the former employer is saying untrue things that harm your reputation, without being asked his opinion by the former clients, then he may be liable for defamation. In addition, if you opposed his sexually harassing conduct and he is bad-mouthing you in retaliation for that, you may have a claim for retaliation as well.

Until you actually lose out on a job opportunity because of what he is saying, you will have a difficult time proving a specific amount of money damages. Also, the costs of suing for defamation and retaliation are very high, making the cost/benefit payoff low. Therefore, your inclination not to file suit is probably the right one.

However, you may be able to get him to stop the bad-mouthing with a well written letter. It should state 1) the things that he has done that were offensive and led to your decision to leave, 2) the things that you know he has said to your former clients and 3) that he must cease and desist from disparaging your reputation or you will take legal action. The letter should go only to him and not to third persons.

If he persists, it is probably worth your while to hire an attorney to write a cease and desist letter as well, which usually works. If you scheduled a consultation with us, we would write that letter as part of the consultation, in addition to reviewing the balance of your potential claims.

Best regards,

Neil Klingshirn.

posted by Neil Klingshirn  |  Apr 7, 2009 5:39 PM [EST]

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