Defamation Per Se — Presumption of Harm

In the realm of workplace defamation claims, the aggrieved employee (or plaintiff) needs to show that the slanderous (spoken) or libelous (written) comments harmed the reputation of the employee.  There are five basic elements to a defamation claim – defamatory content, publication, the statements refer to the plaintiff, with intent, and harm.

However, some statements, because they are so naturally and obviously harmful, are considered per se defamatory.  In defamation per se claims the plaintiff does not have to prove actual injury to reputation because the harm to the plaintiff is presumed.  The plaintiff still has the burden to establish the other four elements even if he does not need to prove harm or damages.  In California, there are four recognized categories of defamation per se statements:

•    the plaintiff committed a crime
•    the plaintiff has an infectious, contagious, or loathsome disease
•    the plaintiff is impotent or “want of chastity”
•    statements which imply that the plaintiff is unqualified to his engage in his profession, trade or business

Many employment defamation cases fall into the last category – statements about the employee’s professional reputation, job performance, or competence.  For example, defamation per se may arise if an employer made statements to individuals, whether inside and outside of the employment setting, that the employee was “incompetent,” “lacking ability” or any statement which implies that the plaintiff cannot perform his employment occupation.  Nonetheless, defamation per se only eliminates the plaintiff’s obligation to prove damages, the other defenses and qualifications to defamation claims still apply.

Read more

wage theft lawyer

Oakland Restaurant Settles Wage Theft Lawsuit With Former Workers

Certain types of workplaces are more prone to wage theft, and the restaurant industry is one of them. Not being paid minimum wage, being forced to work without any breaks and not…

READ ARTICLE
workplace sexual harassment lawyer

Six Women Sue Tesla For Sexual Harassment at Fremont Factory

Six current and former female employees filed separate lawsuits accusing Tesla of enabling a workplace culture of “rampant” sexual harassment at its factory in Fremont, California. The company allegedly created a work…

READ ARTICLE
wage theft lawyer

Bay Area Burger King Franchisee cited $1.9 Million For Wage Theft

Fast food restaurants are notorious for their aggressive cost-cutting measures to boost profits, which often result in workers not being paid the full wages they are owed. It is important to hold…

READ ARTICLE
wrongful termination lawyer

Former Walmart Pharmacist Gets 27 Million Dollars in Retaliation Lawsuit

A former Walmart pharmacist was awarded $27.5 million in damages after the District Court of Central California found the company wrongfully terminated her in retaliation for complaining about noncompliance issues. She and…

READ ARTICLE
SEEN ON
cnnmoney
marin-ij
dailypost
news10