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An employer may avoid a finding of defamation if it exercised reasonable care when it made the false statement.
For example, an employer that informs an employee assistance program that a truck driver tested positive for heroin use is not liable for defamation if the positive test was false because the employee did not tell the drug testing lab that he was taking prescribed Vicodin.
For example, saying that detectives are questioning an employee about a suspected theft could imply that the employee is a suspected thief, or a witness to a theft.
Immediately after, my ex-boss sent a division-wide email (several-hundred recipients) announcing my layoff and adding his "opinion" that... This is not a case against my employer but against a third party where I execute my duties of employment. I was working in a company for more that 6 years and I quit my job, to much gossipy, now two co worker are telling the owner of the company that i was stealing from him. After a month I was fired after days of workplace retaliation from my employer for calling him out on serving food that could potentially poison customers. I worked for almost 15 years with the MA state gov. in todays troubling times it is becoming increasingly difficult to be successful in my industry.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.For all the employer knew, the drug test was accurate, and it had no reason to believe otherwise.An employee must prove actual damage in a defamation case, unless the words used to defame the employee amount to defamation "per se." Employees can prove actual damage if the defamatory statement costs them their job.