Defamation in the Workplace

Yulish, David; Heshizer, Brian
June 1989
Labor Law Journal;Jun89, Vol. 40 Issue 6, p355
Academic Journal
The article presents a discussion related lawsuits on defamation in the workplace in the U.S. Defamation is a tort action that has been widely recognized, but it has only been in recent years that the concept has been increasingly utilized in the employment context. In defending against a defamation suit, the employer is obviously on solid footing if he can establish that his statement was, indeed, true. After truth, the next most important defense is that of privilege. The courts have distinguished between absolute and qualified privilege, and much important litigation has involved the determination of what types of defamation statements are covered by a particular privilege. Basically, absolute privilege cannot be defeated regardless of the content of the statement, but where the statement is covered by only a qualified privilege, it will be actionable if the plaintiff can prove actual malice on the part of the defendant. The article pays particular attention to the issue of privilege, and to various other issues that are proving to be fertile areas of litigation.


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