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What is Considered Defamation?

Defamation refers to harming the reputation of another by making a false written or oral statement about that person to a third party in public. Defamation is not about protecting pride, but to pay damages to people that have been harmed by false statement. Defamation is an intentional tort, of which intent Must be proven on a balance of probability.

Defamation in Employment Law Context

In Employment Law Context, defamation can occurs in many forms. For instance, failure of employer to provide a letter of reference to an employee terminated without cause, and badmouthing, defaming, trashing the employee's professional reputation could sometimes be considered as a form of defamation. Filing a professional body disciplinary proceeding with the intent to cause harm and emotional distress to an employee could be viewed as another example of defamation in employment law context.

Defamation law is a balancing act between freedom of expression and restitution for individuals harmed thereby. Almost all employment law defamation cases involve one person suing another for damages from defamatory statements, made intentionally in public, or there won't be a defamation case in employment law context.

The statement must be false to be caught by the Tort of Defamation. No one can be sued for defamation for saying something that’s true, even if the true statement did in fact cause harm to the Plaintiff (the person suing for defamation).

In employment law context, although medical evidence proving actual emotional distress or any other physiological manifestations resulted from defamation is not required, it is, time after time, a make-it-or-break-it factor the Court considers when deciding on an employment law case involving defamation.

In Ontario, legislation on defamation is found in the Libel and Slander Act. Click here to learn more about Defamation. Click here to learn about Libel and Slander Act.

Defamation FAQs:

Defamation FAQs
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