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Simply failing to find work doesn’t prove defamation

by on
in Discrimination and Harassment,Firing,Human Resources

When employees are fired, they may have a hard time getting another job. Sometimes, they suspect their former employer is providing a bad reference. And often, a defamation lawsuit will follow.

Recent case: Demetrius Johnson, who is black, claimed his former em­­ployer fired him after he complained about discrimination. When his sub­­­se­­quent job search was unsuccessful, he concluded that his former em­­ployer must have defamed him. He sued.

The court quickly dismissed the suit when it became clear Johnson didn’t have any specific factual evidence to back up his claim. He didn’t provide names, dates or even a general idea of what his former employer allegedly said. (Johnson v. Eckstrom, et al., No. C-11-2052, ND CA, 2011)

Final note: Unfortunately, anyone can file a lawsuit. Fortunately, courts don’t have much patience for spurious claims.

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