Your Reputation can easily be damaged!
Sometimes angry former employers make untrue statements on a job reference. Coworkers can spread rumors that impact your ability to be promoted. And nearly anyone can post false statements on social media – quickly reaching a broad audience. That’s why Rob works hard to defend and protect your reputation – vigorously and quickly, before things get out of hand. If your current or previous employer has defamed you, contact Rob for a free case evaluation.
Not every negative statement counts as defamation, slander, or libel under the law. To be legally actionable, the statement must be:
- Factual — i.e., an allegation of facts, not just an expression of opinion. For example: “John was fired because he stole from us” is a factual statement. It can be proven or disproven. “John was annoying during company meetings” is a statement of opinion. It can’t be disproven, because it’s merely an expression of one feelings. Statements of fact are actionable. Statements of opinion are not.
- False — you must be able to show that the statement was not true.
- Published — the statement about you must have been made to, or in the presence of, a third party. If someone falsely accuses you of wrongdoing to your face, with no other witnesses present, there’s no defamation because the statement wasn’t made to any third parties. Similarly, intra-company statements (for instance, a statement made by your boss to H.R. in the context of a company investigation) are often held not to be made to a third party. When the boss and the H.R. representative are both acting in their official capacities, courts sometimes view this as the company making a statement to itself – i.e., there is no third-party publication, and no defamation.
- Non-Privileged — In Georgia, employers may provide certain reference information to a prospective employer upon request of the employee or the prospective employer, without fear of legal liability. An employer will be presumed to be acting in good faith – and therefore immune from legal liability – when it simply provides factual information on the employee’s: job performance, a violation of any state law, or ability (or lack of ability) to carry out the duties of the job. The employee won’t be legally protected, however if the employee can show that it didn’t act in good faith, the information was disclosed in violation of a nondisclosure agreement, or the information disclosed was confidential under any federal, state, or local law or regulations.
Quick Action. If you’ve discovered that someone is making defamatory statements about you, our first step is usually to send a “Cease & Desist” letter. We warn the offender to stop making the statements, or face the consequences. In some cases, this simple step is enough to stop the offending conduct. If not, you may have to consider further legal action.
Restraining Orders. When time is of the essence, or when the “Cease & Desist” letter doesn’t work, a court restraining order may be called for. To obtain a temporary restraining order, we must convince the judge that you will suffer immediate irreparable harm unless the order is issued. If the judge is convinced that a restraining order is necessary, he or she may issue the order immediately. These orders are intended to be stop-gap measures, and only last until the court holds a full hearing on whether or not to grant a full, long-term prohibition against the offender. Rob is experienced with these legal procedures, and can help you use them to protect yourself.
Lawsuits. Sometimes, these types of disputes develop into full-blown litigation. If someone is tarnishing your good name and you need it to stop, Rob can help. As an experienced litigator, Rob will vigorously pursue your position in court.
The statute of limitations for defamation cases in Georgia is ONLY one year, so you need to contact a a lawyer immediately after any defamatory statement is made.