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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    3

    Angry New Boss Spreading Rumors and Undermining My Reputation

    My question involves defamation in the state of: Florida

    I've been at my job for 8+ years, always received glowing reviews, pay raises, etc. My boss was fired about 6 weeks ago, and has been replaced by a person who seems to hate me and want to replace me (and I don't know why).

    She keeps telling me there are many complaints about me and my work from other employees, and says the company is in big trouble from my department with regards to the recent annual audit. She announces this publicly and dramatically, but refuses to tell me what the specific complaints are or what the audit problems are (there aren't any problems as far as I know).

    Recently, I responded to an email saying I would like concrete examples of these complaints and audit issues, and she somehow interpreted it to mean that I was refusing to comply with my job expectations (this is not at all what I said, but maybe what she wanted to hear!). She immediately proceeded to email other staff members and outside consultants telling them that I am not complying with my job, and asked them for additional complaints about me over the last 8 years. She is also badmouthing me to other employees who are outside of my department, disclosing private conversations regarding my career goals, mocking me, and telling them she doesn't see me as director material. She claims I have turned down her offers for management training, which is false. She continues to propagate negative rumors about me, painting me into a bad employee, whereas the facts show I am doing everything asked of me and then some.

    I am so disgusted about how she has treated me in her few weeks in this position, and she has literally poisoned my reputation in the office. I feel like I can't continue to work in that office after she has spread false rumors, and people are beginning to believe her. Some people aren't talking to me now, and I am getting 'looks' from others. The HR director is her crony, and also has been telling lies about my job performance.

    I'm not sure what my options are. I want to give notice, but I don't want to waive any of my rights to take action if i leave on my own accord vs getting fired. I feel this is way beyond "my boss just doesn't like me" - I have printed evidence of her bashing me in order to undermine my credibility in the office. What should I do? Do I have a case of defamation?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Somewhere near Canada
    Posts
    35,894

    Default Re: New Boss Spreading Rumors and Undermining My Reputation

    What damages have you suffered?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: New Boss Spreading Rumors and Undermining My Reputation

    No 'official' damages yet. I feel like if she spreads enough rumors and I get fired (wrongfully), that would be considered 'damages'.

    Right now, it is extremely emotionally draining to be battling every day in this environment, but I realize that isn't an official damage, and I suppose I am free to leave at any time?

    I am debating if I want to be fired (with the potential to file suit, collect unemployment) or if I just want to keep some shred of self-respect and leave on my own accord. Either way, I don't think I will be able to get a positive recommendation from my employer after all of this.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Somewhere near Canada
    Posts
    35,894

    Default Re: New Boss Spreading Rumors and Undermining My Reputation

    Wrongful termination means that you're fired for a reason specifically prohibited by law (race, gender, ethnicity, religion etc.,) - nothing you have said suggests that this would be a wrongful termination.

    If you do resign, as you've gathered, you will likely be ineligible for UI. If you wait until you're fired you'll at least have a chance.

    I see no other legal recourse based upon what you have written.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: New Boss Spreading Rumors and Undermining My Reputation

    I figured harassment (which is what it feels like) wouldn't be the case, because nothing she is saying is based on sex, race, age, religion, etc.

    However, she has made many negative and false remarks regarding my job performance and about me in general, always trying to portray me as a bad employee. I hoped there could be something about defamation at least.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Somewhere near Canada
    Posts
    35,894

    Default Re: New Boss Spreading Rumors and Undermining My Reputation

    Defamation suits are incredibly costly to litigate - think 4-6 years, and at least $40-60 THOUSAND dollars.

    In order to have a decent case you're going to need to show significant damages, and these must generally be tangible (unless you can prove that you have suffered major damage to your reputation resulting in, for example, loss of potential earnings - think along the lines of the rich and famous). And even if you win, then there's the "collection" aspect.

    Unfortunately it's not illegal to have a crappy boss, nor for that boss to have a very negative opinion of you or your work habits and productivity.

    If you still think this is worth pursuing, gather everything you have together and run the situation by a local attorney who specializes in these cases.

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