Sometimes, an employer or co-worker will say or write something an employee believes is harmful to his or her reputation and/or career. To prove defamation in Nevada, an employee must show there was:
- A false and defamatory statement made by the defendant about the plaintiff;
- Unprivileged publication to a third party;
- Fault amounting to at least negligence on the defendant’s part; and
- Actual or presumed damages.
Actual damages means there is some provable, measurable damage from the statement. If the damages are not actual, they can be presumed if the statement involves one of the following assertions:
- That the plaintiff committed a serious crime;
- That the plaintiff contracted a loathsome disease;
- That a woman is unchaste; or
- That the allegation would tend to injure the plaintiff in his or her trade, business, profession, or office.
The reputational harm from a third party’s false statement should be real and substantial before you pursue a defamation claim. For example, if your employer falsely tells a third party that you simply didn’t show up on time or perform well, then this likely won’t be a good case of defamation. However, if your employer falsely tells a third party that you committed a crime, stole from the company, lied, or had conflicts of interest, then you might have a strong case of defamation.
Contact me today if you believe you have a case of defamation, or if you are an employer who needs to defend against a defamation claim.