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Old 09-03-2009, 01:53 PM
jakesteele jakesteele is offline
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Suing for defamation of character

I have a bad situation at work with a person that is not only maliciously gossiping about me, but even telling me outright lies in an attempt to get me fired. I have had a number of co-workers telling me about some of the things she's saying and are willing to testify on my behalf. I am unable to get this resolved through the regular channels at work because she is 'special' to the boss and all he does is ride the fence and try to say that, "Well, I think you both are contributing to the problem." So I am not getting any resoulution that way.

What I want to do is threaten her with a defamation of character suit more to scare her rather than actually going through with it. I have been researching on the net and the best I can tell is that there are three steps you go through to sue:

1. I, personally, write up and serve a "Cease and Desist" letter to her and, I believe, file it with the court. This puts the person in a state of "reasonable apprehension" that they might get sued.

2. If the person persists, you then have the court issuse a "Cease and Desist" order that is filed.

3. Actually suing for defamation.


My questions are:

1. How do you write a "Cease and Desist" letter?

2. Is there an official form I can get to fill out?

3. Do I get it notarized and file with the court?


Also, I live in Seattle, Wa if that makes a difference.
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  #2  
Old 09-03-2009, 02:08 PM
Giles Giles is offline
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IANAL. My advice is that, if it has reached such a serious stage, you need legal advice, and you need your lawyer to send the cease-and-desist letter. Your lawyer might also advise you to formally complain by letter to your employer. That will cost you some money (and the lawyer can advise you how much before actually doing the work), but it will have a better effect that anything you could write.
  #3  
Old 09-03-2009, 02:29 PM
Markxxx Markxxx is offline
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You'd never get defamation of character, which you're looking for is "creating a hostile working environment." This falls under the umbrella of sexual harassment. Remember a hositle working environment doesn't mean "not nice," a lot of unpleasent people and work places are unpleasent but not hostile.

I would see your H/R person and inform them and advise you're going to seek attorny assistance if the situation isn't cleared within a week. Document everything with emails and after your meeting with H/R send an email or a summary letter of your conversation with H/R to her and ask it to be placed in your file.

If H/R fires you or anything you need back up for unemployment.

I've worked in H/R and in reality a situation like yours only gets better when one of the two parties leaves.
  #4  
Old 09-03-2009, 03:30 PM
Quercus Quercus is offline
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This is just MHO, but I don't see how any legal action will help this. So what if you do successfully threaten this woman? Some of your coworkers are telling you that she's lying, so that means they don't believe her, so making her stop doesn't do any good. The coworkers that do believe her, will believe whatever she says about the legal threats, too (and she'll make you look bad with that). And she'll still have the ear of the Boss so she'll just lie to him in private.
Look, if your Boss is willing to let a coworker be incredibly rude to you, the only solutions are:
1. Explain the truth if anyone asks, and let her just look worse in the eyes of your coworkers. (i.e. deal with the situation)
2. Collect evidence of what's happening and present it to your Boss's Boss. This has the high risk of making the Boss's Boss dislike you (and the Boss dislike you even more) And obviously if your Boss doesn't have a Boss this isn't an option.
3. Find another job.
  #5  
Old 09-03-2009, 03:41 PM
YogSosoth YogSosoth is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quercus View Post
Look, if your Boss is willing to let a coworker be incredibly rude to you, the only solutions are:
1. Explain the truth if anyone asks, and let her just look worse in the eyes of your coworkers. (i.e. deal with the situation)
2. Collect evidence of what's happening and present it to your Boss's Boss. This has the high risk of making the Boss's Boss dislike you (and the Boss dislike you even more) And obviously if your Boss doesn't have a Boss this isn't an option.
3. Find another job.
4. Cause her to have an accident
  #6  
Old 09-03-2009, 03:54 PM
Triskadecamus Triskadecamus is offline
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Well, you could just ask her why she is talking about you to so many people, and perhaps assure her that some of the more egregious lies are not true. Do it calmly, and if possibly in a way that doesn't convey an accusation. Explain that you have heard rumors about yourself, and that she was given as the source, and you want to straighten it out.

If possible, give her the names of her closest friends as the source of the rumors of her gossiping, but be very reluctant to reveal them.

Ok, that last was just nasty.

Tris
  #7  
Old 09-03-2009, 04:00 PM
tr0psn4j tr0psn4j is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YogSosoth View Post
4. Cause her to have an accident
I know a guy who can make it look like an accident.
  #8  
Old 09-03-2009, 04:16 PM
drachillix drachillix is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quercus View Post
This is just MHO, but I don't see how any legal action will help this. So what if you do successfully threaten this woman? Some of your coworkers are telling you that she's lying, so that means they don't believe her, so making her stop doesn't do any good. The coworkers that do believe her, will believe whatever she says about the legal threats, too (and she'll make you look bad with that). And she'll still have the ear of the Boss so she'll just lie to him in private.
This is where the lawyers help out, for example they can get sworn statements from other employees about the nature of the things said. Depending on the reasons why this person is behaving this way it a potential hostile working conditions lawsuit can make it prohibitively expensive to continue employing the bosses pet. It also makes it difficult to fire for anything but a clear cut cause for the next few years in fear that your termination might be percieved as retribution for bringing legal action. The cheap option becomes firing her. Businesses love cheap options. Lawsuits hurt everyones bonuses.
  #9  
Old 09-04-2009, 07:46 AM
Quercus Quercus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drachillix View Post
This is where the lawyers help out, for example they can get sworn statements from other employees about the nature of the things said. Depending on the reasons why this person is behaving this way it a potential hostile working conditions lawsuit can make it prohibitively expensive to continue employing the bosses pet. It also makes it difficult to fire for anything but a clear cut cause for the next few years in fear that your termination might be percieved as retribution for bringing legal action. The cheap option becomes firing her. Businesses love cheap options. Lawsuits hurt everyones bonuses.
I'm just wondering why it's an improvement going from a job where a coworker is lying about you (but most people know it's not true) to a job where the boss and everyone in management actively hates you and is looking for any excuse to fire you, and your coworkers have reason to see you as a whiny, self-entitled, troublemaker (not that they would necessarily be right, but some of them would definitely take the boss's side).
  #10  
Old 09-04-2009, 09:05 AM
Gfactor Gfactor is offline
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Moderator Note

Because the OP appears to be seeking legal advice about a real life situation, I'm going to close the thread. Sorry.

Gfactor
General Questions Moderator
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