While every state has different rules on proving defamation, the following five points generally must be satisfied to win a defamation lawsuit.
- The employer must make a false statement of fact about the employee.
- Then the employer must make the false statement to someone else, also known as “publication.”
- It must be shown that the employer knew the statement was false.
- The employee must have suffered harm from the false statement.
- Finally, the statement cannot have been made under privilege. Often statements given in the context of employment reference are considered privileged and protected from liability.