Good news for employers faced with a former employee who tries to add defamation to his case based on alleged employer misrepresentation. What you say to an agency like the EEOC can’t be grounds for a separate defamation action.
Recent case: Tommie sued Wells Fargo, alleging that he was terminated because of his race. He also said the company defamed him when it told the EEOC (which was investigating the case) that Tommie had been fired for not meeting sales quotas.
But the court tossed out that claim. It noted that even if what Wells Fargo told the EEOC was false, it couldn’t be the basis for a defamation lawsuit. (Dawson v. Wells Fargo, No. 11-2456, DC MN, 2012)
Final note: Of course, lying under oath is still a criminal offense—perjury. It just isn’t grounds for a separate defamation lawsuit.
- Small employers: Always check to see if you're too small to be sued under Title VII
- Supremes hear arguments: For Title VII, who's a supervisor?
- Good news: EEOC doesn't have the last word in deciding discrimination cases
- No beards, turbans in Lexus' 'Pursuit of Perfection'
- No one wins in unprofitable victory for Saginaw police officer