Summary: Employers are getting hit with an additional claim tacked on to their wrongful termination, discrimination, and harassment lawsuits that unless it is documented clearly, may be hard to prove.
The latest trendy lawsuit that employers are seeing is defamation suits. Employment lawyers in the Silicon Valley are seeing defamation added to wrongful termination and discrimination lawsuits against the employer. L. Julias M. Turman, a partner at Reed Smith LLP, says that 60 percent of the wrongful termination and harassment lawsuits he works on also include defamation claims. Turman admits that defamation claims are included whether they are appropriate or not.
A defamation claim involves the fired employee accusing the boss of creating a false reason for their firing. The claims are a way for terminated employees to get money back for what they see as made-up accusations that give them a bad name and make it difficult for them to find another job.
The claim gets added on to the discrimination or harassment lawsuits by stating that Worker X was fired because she is Latino, but the employer states the reason that she was fired is because she was late every day. Worker X claims that the reason is false and is just being used as a pretext for firing her. When a company does not have well documented paperwork to back of the claims that she was constantly late, then the Worker has a good chance at winning her case.
A recent case highlights how these claims are turning out successful for the terminated employee. A worker for Kemper Independence Insurance Co was terminated. His wrongful termination and retaliation lawsuits were thrown out but his defamation case won him over five million dollars in judgement.
To make sure this doesn’t happen to your company, you must keep documents to prove the claim is true. If Worker X was late every day, then keep the statements of when she clocked in to work and missed work. As long as you can prove that the alleged defamation is true then there is nothing to worry about.
Read these examples of defamation cases:
Photo: schaeferhalleen.comThe New Trend of Defamation Lawsuits by Amanda Griffin