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Libel and Slander: Defamation Laws

Libel and slander are forms of defamation, a civil complaint defined as publicly making false statements about another person.

Proving Defamation through Libel or Slander

To prove defamation through libel or slander, the statement must fulfill all three requirements:

  1. Communicated intentionally or negligently to someone else.
  2. Harmful to the reputation of the person the statement refers to. In another words, the communicated statement has to be “defamatory.”
  3. The statement must point in some way to the person defamed. Such reference may be implied.

However, depending on the status of the person being defamed or the subject matter of communication, malice or/and actual injury must be shown. For example, because of the Constitutional free speech protections, a libel or slander that references a public figure or official requires a showing  of malice, Similarly, when libel or slander reference a private person but with respect to public concern subject matter, it is necessary to show the presence of malice or negligence resulting in actual injury. 

Common Employment Situations Where Defamation Claims Arise

What Can an Employer Do to Prevent a Libel or Slander Lawsuit?

As an employer, it is best to have established policies and procedures regarding termination, providing references and the scope of an employee's communications regarding the business in order to avoid defamation lawsuits. An employer should also study, review, and evaluate possible defenses to defamation.

Do I Need an Experienced Libel and Slander Attorney?

An attorney will help you with the often timely and difficult procedures involved in filing a libel or slander lawsuit. A personal injury lawyer will also help if your employer has treated you unfairly because you filed defamation charges against them. If you are an employer being sued by a former employee for libel or slander, you should speak to a lawyer immediately.

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Last Modified: 03-17-2017 12:03 AM PDT

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