My question involves defamation in the state of: Illinois
I am a senior exec with a company in Chicago. I have been with my employer for the past 8 years. On Monday a female coworker in a different department accused me of sending her a IM (instant messaging) chat and than a phone call preceeding that conversation disclosing another employee's salary. She reported this to her boss, who in turn notified senior management within the company.
I was approached by my boss Monday morning, asking if I had any conversations with the female party a week prior (before the thanksgiving holiday). My immediate response was 'no i do not recall'. One hour later I was confronted by my boss as well as the other senior exec (female coworkers boss) in a closed door meeting. I was asked by both parties if I chatted with the female coworker on salary info - my response was no. The female coworker was than asked to meet all 3 of us in a meeting. The coworker did not make any eye contact with me and blantently lied stating, I had a Instant message conversation with her, than proceeded with a phone call disclosing someone's salary. I tried to make eye contact and asked her directly as to why she was out right lying and why she would accuse me of such a horrible allegation. She did not respond, and kept insisting I spoke to her. After our 10 minute conversation, I informed all parties involved, to contact the Regional Technology Director, and request all phone logs, IM chat's, and email correspondance on that day by her and I. I was not to be involved and left it up to my boss to do their due deligence. We all walked away.
The next morning (today) I was told by my boss, IM chat's are not logged as it is against corporate policy. There was one phone call made on that day where the coworker and I spoke. The phone log stated she intially called me and I called her back for 2 seconds. Last night I went through my entire email records, and recalled that morning we had a email outage for 2 hours. I was sending emails and responding to emails up until 5:30pm on that day. The female coworker called me at 440pm asking if outbound email was working, and my answer was yes, and that was the jist of our conversation. At 442pm, I recieved a call from another employee to resolve a issue which took me approx. 3-4 minutes. I questioned her credibility as to how could I have IM'd her as well as called her as she stated yesterday but still working with another employee.
Some further investigation by me, with the approval of my boss, revealed that another male coworker in the company - who also is not very friendly with me, sent this female coworker a text message using his company phone to her personal cell phone. They had 3 exchanges of messages - which I do not know the content's of (AT&T does not track text's). The messages were shared on Nov 21st and the accusation came up Nov 24th. In further reviewing the other party's corporate cell phone log, I did not find any correspondance with this female coworker for 6 month's prior - which seemed extremely odd. On Monday Dec 1st afternoon, after the closed door meeting, the female coworker was seen going to lunch with this other coworker. I put 2 and 2 together to find the text message exchanged.
My question is, there is no proof of any IM conversations, or any email correspondance or any proof I hacked into the system to get information or shared any information with anyone, are my rights here as a employee? I was threatned today by my CEO that if they found any proof of IM log's etc, he would terminate my employment. Also the female coworker has made slanderous comment's about me within the company how can I handle this?
I am a 30-35 year old male, minority and a senior exec with the company. I feel my hard work and honest character have been severely affected by this situation. In speaking to the CEO of the company he said he does not know who to believe! I have no motive as we both work in separate departments, and he doesn't know why she would make up such a thing? Any legal insight would be greatly appreciated! I am really ready to quit!