Most of us have heard of Defamation or Slander or used the words, but people don’t know legal nuances of what these words mean. There are varying types of defamation and slander that differ from one another. Merriam-Webster defines defamation as “the act of communicating false statements about a person that injure the reputation of that person”. Slander is defined as “the utterance of false charges or misrepresentations which defame and damage another’s reputation”. Legally, these simplistic definitions are just the tip of the iceberg. There is more involved than someone saying something mean about you, or your business. Defamation and slander both involve false information, not by means of subjective perspective, but by means of proof.
The attorneys at Skeeters, Bennett, Wilson & Humphrey have experience in litigating defamation cases. One instance included an individual that was being sexually harassed by a superior. She took the issue to her chain of command, as is the best practice to do. After a period of time, the superior then left the organization and later sued the woman for defamation claiming she made false statements about him causing him to lose his position in the organization.
In the context of defamation, there are certain privileges and immunities recognized by the law that protect people who make statements to others that would otherwise, on their face, be defamatory or likely to harm someone’s reputation. One such privilege applies to sexual harassment in the workplace. The purpose of this privilege is to ensure that other employees are not discouraged from speaking up if they are harassed. There are also protections in place for individuals that make statements in court proceedings. In the course of litigating the case mentioned above, one of our attorneys was able to prove that not only were the client’s actions appropriate, but her evidence proved that her statements were not false as the superior had previously claimed. The court dismissed the claim of defamation.
We know that there are two sides to every story, and as partners with many businesses in the area we understand that employees, customers, and vendors may make statements that would tend to cause harm. Skeeters, Bennett, Wilson & Humphrey cares about our area businesses and citizens alike and has the experience to indicate your rights if you are the victim of defamation or slander.