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Defamation of Character in the Workplace

Essay by   •  July 22, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  3,010 Words (13 Pages)  •  2,141 Views

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Defamation of Character in the Workplace

I. Introduction

Defamation of character is the "issuance of a false statement about another person, which causes that person to suffer harm" (Defamation, 2010). Many people who have a good reputation have had their reputations damaged because somebody made a false statement about them. The defamation may happen in places where many people are dealing with each other such as workplaces and societies. Also, it is more common in the workplace because it is a competitive environment. Unfortunately, malicious people try to attack and destroy another's reputation by defaming them in order to get some benefit. Although defamation in the workplace is unacceptable, some people do it to damage the lives of others and get some benefits inside the workplace such as promotions, even though it is against the law. However, people should know the legal definition of defamation, and how they can use the defamation law to respond to libel or slander. According to many statistics, there are a lot of employees in the United States who lose their jobs every year because of defamation in the workplace.

II. The defamed person

Defamation of character in the workplace takes many forms, one of the forms is a negative statement between employees or between employees and employers. For example, if two employees are competing for a promotion one employee might defame the other by giving false statements or information to the employer in order to harm the fellow employee and get the promotion. In anther instance, defamation also means giving a bad reference about an employee by an employer as an attempt to hinder the employee's hopes to secure employment in any other organization once he has been terminated. Inevitably, all these negative actions can seriously affect a person's life and job prospects.

There are important facts about character defamation in the workplace, and the employee should know them. It is always better to have a good relationship and to be cautious with fellow employees, and to end a professional relationship with an employer on a happy note, even though this is not possible in all the cases. There have been many instances in which the employees and the employers have become involved in different legal problems. Many times, this starts with the employer giving bad information about an employee. This bad information or defamation can cause a person a lot of difficulty in getting a new job. Moreover, this action can be very dangerous for the employee's entire career and can affect his personality, status in the society, and financial position.

There are many innocent people who have lost a job because of false accusations or rumors spread about them. In addition, there are some organizations that add an employee to their black list on the web, for example on Facebook or Twitter, which can make a person loose opportunities in the whole nation and globally. Some managers who have very good employees defame them inside the organization in order to keep these employees away from the managers' positions. Other managers defame their good employees with different organizations that consider managers a good reference because they wish to keep the good employees from leaving. These liabilities put an employee under high stress that impacts the work and a person's health.

Employees who lose their jobs because of the defamation of character have many problems in society such as: discrimination, segregation, prejudice, and lost social status. All these factors have an effect on the person's life and reflect badly on the society. In contrast, most nations want their citizens to be successful, but defamation makes individuals and organizations unsuccessful. There are numerous stories about co-workers who have made an organization less successful because of the slander they spread inside the work environment. Although people may have freedom of expression, they should not assault others verbally because that is destructive behavior and decreases the level of the society. It is important to note that defamation is often extremely embarrassing to the victims and changes their behaviors and puts them in bad circumstances. In addition to losing their career by slander they will lose their reputation and people may treat them badly in their society. It is difficult for them to go back to their career or the position they deserved before their character was harmed by a callous, reckless, or malicious individual or entity. However, even if they go back to their job because their colleagues accept their innocence it will be difficult to change society's view (Defamation, 2010).

There are many sides of life that could be affected by defamation such as an individual's personality. Defamation of character in the workplace may have an effect on the person and his family and put them under high stress because of bad rumors, and that may damage the value of their reputation, which accumulates for all their life. Therefore, employees should know their rights in the protection of their personal reputation because they are much stronger with the knowledge of their rights to their jobs. In addition, employees can be fired from their job at any time for no reason but their employer cannot ruin their good name by using their reputations as an excuse for firing them.

I remember one of my colleagues when I was working part time in a food center and he was working full time at the same place. He had been working in this center for six years, and he was happy and growing within the food industry. He had worked a long time with the same members and never had a problem with them or with the management. Unfortunately, one day our manager gave him a termination letter without justifications. He was not satisfied but he thought that time with the company was good to learn from and grow. However, there were a few arguments with the manager and he disagreed with him, but he did not think this was the reason. After one week he was laid off, then he returned to the store as a customer wanting to purchase some goods. One of the employees informed him he was being watched on their camera like a common thief. He was also informed that one of the managers told the staff to not speak with him; this made him feel very unwelcome and uncomfortable. Therefore, he left and he did not purchase any products but he was wondering about the reasons. After one month from that incident, he had an interview with one of the food center's competitors for a position to be a part of their company. He was assured he got the position because they told him that he had training in one week. The day before he was to train he received an email from them; they



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