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The employee must still prove that the statement caused damage, though.

Generally, though, defamation at work means: Defamation requires an untrue statement of fact.Opinions are not facts, so defamation claims based solely on unfavorable opinions will fail.When the supervisor and Human Resource Director talk to each other about something that falls within the scope of their respective jobs, they are both speaking as the employer, and conversation amounts, in defamation law, to the employer talking to itself.If the supervisor tells a co-worker who has no need to know that the employee did something horrible, then the co-worker is probably a third party, and the supervisor's statement is defamatory.Defamation at work occurs when employers, customers or co-workers publish false statements of fact, without legal privilege to do so, that harm the reputation of employees.

A negative employment references can prevent an employee from getting a new job, for example, and would amount to defamation if false, but employers have a "qualified privilege," or a defense to defamation claims for employment references.The qualified privilege protects employers from verdicts for false and harmful references, as long as the employer did not act with malice when it made the false reference.Each state has its own test for proving defamation at work.However, since defamation involves harm to an individual's reputation, and because reputation is difficult to quantify, actual damage is often difficult or impossible to prove.The law assumes, however, that some statements cause harm to reputation, by the very nature of the statement.Slander refers to defamation when spoken, and libel means written defamation.