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Defamation in the Work Place

California Attorneys Advocating for Employees
Man writing

Your career and reputation can be severely harmed by a coworker or manager who spreads lies and false rumors about you. In addition to the stress that this may cause, you may find yourself with lost career opportunities and may be unable to get another job. You can stand up for yourself and stop the spread of lies by bringing a workplace defamation lawsuit. However, you should be aware that you will not be on an even playing field with your employer if you do not have a reputable California workplace defamation lawyer. At The Nourmand Law Firm, we may be able to represent you in a California lawsuit for defamation in the workplace. We provide personalized attention to every client.


When suing for defamation in California, you will need to establish certain elements: (1) the defendant intentionally published a statement of fact, (2) the statement was false, (3) the statement was not privileged, (4) the statement had a natural tendency to injure or cause special damage, and (5) the defendant was negligent in publishing the statement, or bore greater fault, as with intentional or reckless conduct. The publication does not need to be addressed to the public, as in a book, newspaper, or talk show. It can be actionable even if the statement is only made to one other person.

Defamation is considered libel if it is in writing. It is considered slander if it is spoken.


California Civil Code section 45 provides that libel is a false, unprivileged publication by writing, picture, printing, effigy, or another static visual representation that exposes its victim to obloquy, contempt, ridicule, or hatred, or that causes the victim to be avoided or shunned, or that tends to harm the victim in their job. For example, if your direct supervisor falsely accuses you in an email of stealing from the till, and your coworkers avoid you and you are terminated, a workplace defamation attorney in California can help you bring a claim under section 45.


California Civil Code section 46 provides that slander is a false, unprivileged publication that is spoken and that does any of these: (1) charges the victim with a crime, (2) imputes to the victim the existence of a contagious, infectious, or loathsome disease, (3) tends directly to injure the victim with regard to their business, trade, profession, or office, (4) imputes to the victim a want of chastity or impotence, or (5) naturally causes damages. For example, if your boss lied to a prospective employer that you slept with everyone in the office when you worked there, you may have a claim for slander.

Generally, you need to prove special damages to recover compensation for ordinary defamation. Special damages could include adverse employment consequences, decreased business, or lost profits.

Defamation Per Se

Some statements are considered so injurious that you can sue without needing to show that you suffered special damages. Your California workplace defamation attorney would not need to establish special damages, such as injury to your trade, business, profession, or occupation, if a statement is defamatory per se. A statement is defamatory per se if you do not need any extrinsic or outside evidence to show that it is of a defamatory nature. For example, if your manager falsely claims to a coworker or states in a performance review that you were guilty of embezzlement, this is a statement that is defamatory per se.

Consult a Seasoned Defamation Attorney

It is humiliating, embarrassing, and hurtful to have false rumors spread about you. Defamation can change your career trajectory or leave you unable to get a job. If you were harmed by defamation at work, you should talk to the knowledgeable attorneys at The Nourmand Law Firm. We provide tenacious, personalized legal representation in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside Counties, as well as Oakland and Sacramento, among other areas. Complete our online form or call us at 310-553-3600 to discuss your situation with a workplace defamation lawyer in California.

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