Can I sue a co-worker for defamation of character? 5 Answers as of March 21, 2013

I had a conversation with a coworker were I told him I thought how he handled a scheduling situation wasn't fair to the rest of the staff. Then five days later he wrote a letter to my boss where he accused me of "threatening him". He accused me of "a history of bullying at this facility and her previous facility" and said "she is capable of retaliation and sabotage". My boss presented this letter to me in his presence at which point I told him what he had written was a lie. He said it was all true . I then told my boss I needed to end the meeting and requested my union rep. I was an emotional wreck, wanted to leave and felt I was being bullied. What can I do?

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B. Casey Yim | B. Casey Yim
You cannot sue your co-worker, under the "fellow employee" rule. It is barred by the same Workers Comp bar that prevents you from suing your employer. If you have been injured by something that happened at work, and in connection with the work, then you have to file a WC claim against your employer. You need to contact an attorney or law firm that specializes in representing WC Claimants.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/21/2013
License Advocates Law Group LLP | Christine McCall
These facts will not support a successful defamation action. Employees have a legal right and obligation to report to employers their complaints of unlawful conduct. Further, most of the content of the co-worker's statements, as stated here by you, were opinion as distinct from fact, and defamation cases cannot be successfully founded on statements of opinion. Finally, California Civil Code section 47(c) defeats defamation claims on most fact patterns arising in the context of employment and is likely to be applicable with that result here.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/21/2013
Lydy & Moan | C. Gary Wilson
Defamation is a high cost cause of action with a high probability of loss. Always difficult to prove it occurred and difficult to prove damages. Think long and hard before pursuing.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 3/21/2013
Steven Miller | Steven Miller
Yes for libel and slander. You have to prove both the statements were untrue and that you suffered harm. Then if you win you need to collect from him. All of the above makes it a challenge. Most lawyers would probably pass on the case if you wanted one on a contingency and you would be foolish to pay a lawyer an hourly rate.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/21/2013
WILLIAM L SANDERS, ATTORNEY AT LAW | William L. Sanders
You may sue. Will you win - not likely. First, you will have to prove actual monetary loss. If you do win, it likely will be a nominal sum. The law is not always the best remedy
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 3/21/2013
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