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For all the employer knew, the drug test was accurate, and it had no reason to believe otherwise.
An employee must prove actual damage in a defamation case, unless the words used to defame the employee amount to defamation "per se." Employees can prove actual damage if the defamatory statement costs them their job.
The employee must still prove that the statement caused damage, though.
An employer has a qualified privilege to make statements about its employees concerning matters of their employment, especially when made in response to another employer's request for a reference.
Defamation at work occurs when employers, customers or co-workers publish false statements of fact, without legal privilege to do so, that harm the reputation of employees.
A negative employment references can prevent an employee from getting a new job, for example, and would amount to defamation if false, but employers have a "qualified privilege," or a defense to defamation claims for employment references.
An employer can, for example, respond to a reference request by stating that an employee "stole from us" and avoid a finding for defamation at work, even if wrong, as long as the employer did not act out of malice.Questions and Answers (5,055) CAN I FILE A LAWSUIT AGAINST MY EMPLOYER FOR ALL THE VIOLATIONS AGAINST ME INCLUDING I was recently laid off from a white-collar technical position. My supv claimed that I failed to execute on a particular machine that I help monitor on my job. The client has been consistently lying about my responsiveness and performance in order to attempt ...Immediately after, my ex-boss sent a division-wide email (several-hundred recipients) announcing my layoff and adding his "opinion" that... This is not a case against my employer but against a third party where I execute my duties of employment. Myself and two other employees were accused of being part of a drug ring by other employees on a different shift.The statement that an employee "seemed shifty" expresses an opinion, while the employee "stole from me" is a statement of fact.If a factual statement has two meanings, one innocent and one defamatory, courts can adopt the innocent meaning and reject the claim for workplace defamation.
For example, saying that detectives are questioning an employee about a suspected theft could imply that the employee is a suspected thief, or a witness to a theft.