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Reply #39: Civil case law doesn't make something illegal [View All]

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Xithras Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-20-09 02:51 PM
Response to Reply #33
39. Civil case law doesn't make something illegal
And the precedent is merely that you can sue an employer when they spread false and malicious information about you.

They can spread truthful information all they want, but they must have actual evidence to prove it's the truth.

The problem is that many employers simply don't understand what "evidence" is. If your boss catches you shoving $5 from the till into your pocket, and then later tells another potential employer about it, the fact that he caught you isn't going to fly as evidence. You're suing him for defamation, so any unverifiable statements of his are going to be worthless as evidence (he could be saying that just to save his own skin). In this case, an employee would probably win a sizeable award against the company for defamation.

If, however, there was a camera overhead that caught the theft, and the tape from that camera can be played in court, then the employee would lose. Truth is a defense against slander.

It all comes down to whether or not the employer can unequivocally prove the truth of their statements. Many reasons for termination are also not provable at all. If the employer tells a caller that he fired you for being to work everyday, he may think that he has solid evidence to keep himself safe, because all of the timecards show him punching in at 8:05-8:10 every morning. But what if the employee claims that the employer wouldn't permit him to clock in on time? Or that his actual work hours didn't start until 8:15, and he was actually a few minutes early every morning? Can the employer definitively prove those statements false? And if the employer is stupid enough to accuse a former employee of something subjective, like being "lazy", then "proof" is almost impossible.

That's why these kinds of statements are a legal minefield for an employer. A good attorney can find a ton of loopholes to disprove evidence, and without proof, an employers statement can be considered slander.

Still, most suits of this type do NOT succeed. There have been a number of high profile cases in which former employees have received large payouts, but in most cases there is sufficient proof available for the employer to prove the truth of the statements, or at least to plant enough doubt in a jury that a suit will be dismissed. Even though they win most of them, employers still try to steer clear of these types of suits, because a lost lawsuit still costs money to defend against.
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  -What information can an employer give to an unknown caller about an employee? Inchworm  Nov-20-09 01:33 PM   #0 
  - Whatever the law says, the reality is that bosses can do whatever they want. What are you gonna do  T Wolf   Nov-20-09 01:34 PM   #1 
  - Oh no  Inchworm   Nov-20-09 01:39 PM   #9 
  - They can't do whatever they want.  MattBaggins   Nov-20-09 02:14 PM   #36 
  - Whether or not you are/were an employee. That's it unless you've signed a disclosure.  sinkingfeeling   Nov-20-09 01:35 PM   #2 
  - Yep  MidwestRick   Nov-20-09 01:36 PM   #5 
  - That is about what was given, cool  Inchworm   Nov-20-09 01:40 PM   #10 
  - My guess is they can give anything and aren't required to give anything.  mikelgb   Nov-20-09 01:36 PM   #3 
  - Makes sense  Inchworm   Nov-20-09 01:41 PM   #11 
  - Not much  Kookaburra   Nov-20-09 01:36 PM   #4 
  - Thanks  Inchworm   Nov-20-09 01:41 PM   #12 
  - My brother does hiring and firing for his company  Craftsman   Nov-20-09 01:37 PM   #6 
  - I'm pretty sure this is how it was handled  Inchworm   Nov-20-09 01:43 PM   # 
  - That's what we do, too. n/t  donco6   Nov-20-09 01:56 PM   #25 
  - That's how it was in all the companies I've worked. And only HR could give  RKP5637   Nov-20-09 02:13 PM   #35 
  - Technically, all you are supposed to give is the fact that the employee  Cleita   Nov-20-09 01:37 PM   #7 
  - ok  Inchworm   Nov-20-09 01:43 PM   #17 
  - In CA they can ask if you would rehire...  JuniperLea   Nov-20-09 01:54 PM   #24 
     - In NC they can ask 'is ***** eligible for rehire?' n/t  Lance_Boyle   Nov-20-09 03:16 PM   #41 
  - I don't know about the law  guitar man   Nov-20-09 01:38 PM   #8 
  - Hehe  Inchworm   Nov-20-09 01:46 PM   #18 
     - Yeah it's fun  guitar man   Nov-20-09 02:04 PM   #29 
  - Whether or not you are employed, and if you are a former employee whether or not you are eligible...  slackmaster   Nov-20-09 01:42 PM   #13 
  - That is what boss thought it was about  Inchworm   Nov-20-09 01:47 PM   #19 
  - The boss should never give any information to an "unknown caller".  cbdo2007   Nov-20-09 01:43 PM   #14 
  - I'll read that later  Inchworm   Nov-20-09 01:50 PM   #21 
  - My company won't even  sharp_stick   Nov-20-09 01:43 PM   #15 
  - Seems safer that way  Inchworm   Nov-20-09 01:52 PM   #23 
  - Most of the posters here are wrong. LEGALLY, they can give any information they want.  Xithras   Nov-20-09 01:43 PM   #16 
  - Unless they changed the law, you can't give a bad reference  Cleita   Nov-20-09 01:50 PM   #20 
  - I'm in California. I was an employer. That's not the law.  Xithras   Nov-20-09 01:58 PM   #26 
     - Are you a lawyer? Because the legal department of a very large company  Cleita   Nov-20-09 02:04 PM   #28 
        - I was told there was lots of case law which protects employees  tonysam   Nov-20-09 02:10 PM   #33 
           - I did find out something strange when I worked for the State of California  Cleita   Nov-20-09 02:41 PM   #38 
           - Civil case law doesn't make something illegal  Xithras   Nov-20-09 02:51 PM   #39 
  - That all makes sense  Inchworm   Nov-20-09 02:03 PM   #27 
  - They can if they want to risk a lawsuit  tonysam   Nov-20-09 02:13 PM   #34 
  - Companies open themselves up to lawsuits with defamatory information  tonysam   Nov-20-09 02:04 PM   #31 
  - Here's the N. Carolina statute concerning what employee information is allowed.  sinkingfeeling   Nov-20-09 01:50 PM   #22 
  - Super!  Inchworm   Nov-20-09 02:04 PM   #30 
  - Creditor tracking you down?  prolesunited   Nov-20-09 02:23 PM   #37 
  - Is that for all employers?  Xithras   Nov-20-09 02:05 PM   # 
  - ## PLEASE DONATE TO DEMOCRATIC UNDERGROUND! ##  DU GrovelBot   Nov-20-09 02:05 PM   #32 
  - In the State of MD  Bitwit1234   Nov-20-09 03:12 PM   #40 

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