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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Default Company Sent Out Email Stating Grounds for My Dismissal

    My question involves defamation in the state of: Texas

    My former company apparently sent out an email stating the reason why i was dismissed. I disputed their charges in a meeting before being let go and asked to see what information they had was leading them to make this decision and they refused to offer any proof to me. Do I have a defamation case against the company?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    Default Re: Company Sent Out Email

    You haven't given nearly enough information to even roughly determine if you have a case or not.

    By all means have a consultation with a defamation attorney.

    Be prepared to spend several years, and tens of thousands of dollars, to litigate the matter.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    Default Re: Company Sent Out Email

    Take the email to a civil law attorney or two for a free initial consultation and ask for their opinion on the strength of any defamation claim you may have.

    While many defamation cases can get complicated and long and expensive, many are not so complicated.

    Less complicated cases are those of libel (an email) where there is no dispute as to who published it, no dispute that it went to at least one third party, and if the statements as a matter of law would be defamatory per se (imputation of a crime or damage to business reputation), and if the author is unable to establish the statements are truthful. In such instances a case can move to summary judgment rather quickly on the issue of liability.

    And in cases of defamation per se (rather than per quod), damages are presumed. How much that will be may be determined at a separate trial. In Texas a jury can decide such damages.

    And the burden is not on you to prove the statements false, but on your ex-employer to prove they are true. And the fact they broadcast an email on the reason for your termination would lead one to believe you would not be burning any bridges by filing a lawsuit against them. They are already burnt. But a lawsuit will at least force them in a position of having to prove their allegations against you, which they have so far refused to do.

    But ultimately, the best test of the strength of a defamation case will be in the defendant's answer to the complaint. If they respond with irrefutable evidence that their statements are truthful, then game over. If not, and depending upon their response, you can get a better handle on whether to pursue the case or drop it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
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    Il.(near StL,Mo.)
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    5,252

    Default Re: Company Sent Out Email Stating Grounds for My Dismissal

    Quote Quoting genesis
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    My former company apparently sent out an email stating the reason why i was dismissed.
    Who did your former employer "apparently" send the e-mail out to?

  5. #5
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    Feb 2010
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    CT & IL
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    Default Re: Company Sent Out Email Stating Grounds for My Dismissal

    Way short on details to answer.

  6. #6
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    Dec 2009
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    Default Re: Company Sent Out Email Stating Grounds for My Dismissal

    If what your former employer wrote in the email is true, then you have no case. And just because they refused to show you their "proof" does not mean they did not have said "proof" - they are not legally required to show you their evidence.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    Massachusetts
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    24,129

    Default Re: Company Sent Out Email Stating Grounds for My Dismissal

    And was the information accurate, even if negative?

  8. #8
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    Sep 2010
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    Oklahoma
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    Default Re: Company Sent Out Email Stating Grounds for My Dismissal

    If the employer sent an email stating; "John Doe was terminated due to suspicions of theft", then that is a factual statement and not defamatory.
    If the employer sent an email stating; "John Doe was terminated for theft", then that could be defamitory and subject to a lawsuit. The company would need to show proof that you did steal in order to issue a factual statement of such.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    576

    Default Re: Company Sent Out Email Stating Grounds for My Dismissal

    Quote Quoting antrc170
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    If the employer sent an email stating; "John Doe was terminated due to suspicions of theft", then that is a factual statement and not defamatory...
    This is an incorrect assumption in Texas. Even a factually correct statement can be ascribed a defamatory meaning by inuendo or implication.

    Such a statement as this sends out a very strong message that the employee was indeed guilty of theft. Otherwise, why would they be fired?

    Should the plaintiff plead the statement is defamatory by inuendo or implication, a jury would decide whether they would consider such a statement to be libelous. And the jury would invariably be asked how they would feel if they were wrongfully terminated for theft with no evidence, and their company published such an email about them.

    Unless the employer could show the jury proof of the employee's guilt, the employer could get screwed.

  10. #10
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    Sep 2010
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    Oklahoma
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    Default Re: Company Sent Out Email Stating Grounds for My Dismissal

    Quote Quoting tex11
    View Post
    This is an incorrect assumption in Texas. Even a factually correct statement can be ascribed a defamatory meaning by inuendo or implication.

    Such a statement as this sends out a very strong message that the employee was indeed guilty of theft. Otherwise, why would they be fired?

    Should the plaintiff plead the statement is defamatory by inuendo or implication, a jury would decide whether they would consider such a statement to be libelous. And the jury would invariably be asked how they would feel if they were wrongfully terminated for theft with no evidence, and their company published such an email about them.

    Unless the employer could show the jury proof of the employee's guilt, the employer could get screwed.
    The burden of proof is such a case is very low for the employer which is why I included it. The employer would only have to contend that the employee had access to money (for example), and that at some point monies were missing. That would substaniate the claim that the employee was a suspect. Guilt is not the issue, rather the employer only has to show that they had cause to believe the person could have performed the theft. If the employee didn't have access to the money and they were suspected of theft, then there would be a problem.

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