Thread regarding Seagate Technology Inc. layoffs

Help With Slander in the Workplace by Justin Schamotta

Slander is a malicious, false and defamatory statement that sometimes can spread around the office. The slandered employee might feel pressured to leave his job and could begin court proceedings against the person who committed the slander and perhaps the company for failing to stop it. Because a lawsuit can be divisive and disruptive, the best treatment for workplace slander is preventative. Keep office gossip in check and don't allow rumors to circulate. If an employee registers concern about a rumor, take decisive action.

Definition
Defamation is a legal term referring to the act of injuring a person's good name or reputation. It has two components: libel and slander. The Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center says that slander is the oral communication of false statements that are injurious to a person's reputation, while libel refers to damaging visual material. Slander is a civil rather than a criminal act. In practice, this means that the slandering person can be sued but not criminally charged. Only statements presented as fact can be considered slanderous.

Proof
Unlike libel, slander can be difficult to prove. First, you as a manager should establish whether the statement reasonably can be understood as negative by the person who hears it. The employee will need to collect evidence to win a lawsuit. This might be in the form of co-workers who have heard the slanderous statement repeated or who can pinpoint its source. If the source of the slander is known, the Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center suggests that employees write a letter asking the offender to desist. Employers may also arrange for them to discuss the matter privately. Though slander can be intensely hurtful, confronting the slanderer in an emotional state is unlikely to help matters.

Official Action
The employee should speak to someone from the company's human resources department in the first instance. Large companies will have formal channels for dealing with claims of slander. If you operate a small business, you should establish a procedure for employees to follow, as well. The statute of limitations for slander is between one or two years. In Texas, it is one year. This means that people who believe they were sladered have that length of time to file a lawsuit.

Prevention
The best way to deal with slander is to prevent it happening. Managers should actively discourage negative office gossip from circulating. Left unchecked, it's all too easy for rumors to make the transition to stated fact. Make others aware of the potential for slander and its consequences. Hold meetings with your employees to inform them about the possible consequences of slander, up to and including getting fired.

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Post ID: @1075Dpeb

6 replies (most recent on top)

"There are more than a few that throw slander around (a NRM process manager comes to mind)." Is defamation of the NRM process manager. Just saying. Don't throw rocks in a glass house.

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Post ID: @1075Dpeb-awpe

I took this post as trying to offer advice to those being slandered. There are more than a few that throw slander around (a NRM process manager comes to mind). But pursuing anything for that is a lost cause. What are you going to do, win a case and still work with those same people?

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Post ID: @1075Dpeb-aaoo

Seagate is no good.

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Post ID: @1075Dpeb-9hzo

What is the point of this post? 1st amendment and internet anonymousity is powerful. Sharing your opinion is perfectly legal and even if you slide into slander or defamation most of the posts are satire. Just read them they're f—ing jokes. That's also protected by the first amendment. So to the HR troll or employee kissing a– to an executive your post was pointless much like your job at Seagate soon will be.

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Post ID: @1075Dpeb-8thd

It's not slander when it is fact - Seagate management is horseshit !!

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Post ID: @1075Dpeb-7ptn

How do we handle talks on the internet?

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Post ID: @1075Dpeb-2dkp

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