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Employer Slander? Michigan

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  • Employer Slander? Michigan

    Hi All,

    I have a question but I'm not sure if it's slander. I recently applied for a mortgage and as I am not the main bread winner in the house my work history has been off/on. Anyhow, the mortgage company required the last date of work from me for one of the jobs I held as the W-2 read differently from my resume (last date ACTUALLY worked and all that jazz). I called my old employer and told her I needed the last date of emp from them for my mortgage lender, I was at work so I had her email it to my husband. When I get home my husband is seething because she sent over a Personnel Action Form which did indeed state my actual last date but at the bottom she took it upon herself to write in why she terminated me. Now, I've worked in HR several times before and I know that out of 100 companies, 99 of them are NOT going to put anything other than your start/end dates & title on anything, (VOE's (verifications of emp), Work Requests, etc...), as they can be sued for slander. So, my question is, if this is NOT for a job but for my lender and all I needed was a date but instead I got the date AND a crazy ladies comments is there any action I can take against her?

    Also, let me add, the reason I say crazy lady so no one thinks I'm lashing out in anger...when I worked there a co-worker and myself both had been wearing corduroys to work (slacks, some with pockets some without) with either a blouse or a sweater (it was winter time in MI). Anyhow, one day, she calls us both into her office and proceeds to yell at us that cords are jeans and to stop wearing them to work!! And I mean yelling to the point her face was red & hair disheveled. Also, let me note that BEFORE I started working there, when i got the initial offer over the phone I asked about the dress code and was told it was business casual and asked if cords & a sweater was good, to which I was told yes, the staff often wears cords...so, I went out and bought 25 pairs of cords from JCP and cable sweaters to match - about $200 worth of stuff! So, getting back to the yelling incident, upon hearing crazy lady say cords are jeans I go home speak to hubby and other family members that work in professional environments & they all say they've never heard of anything of the sort concerning cords being jeans and that the owners of their companies often wear cords: pants, jackest/blazers and shirts! So, my family members suggest because I'd spent so much money on them and because they are neat in appearance to wear them on jean day (Friday), I wear them on jean day and am termed the following Thursday...Also, let me interject here that the staff (crazy lady and 2 other women) OFTEN wore stretch pants, faded/tattered jeans, socks and house-shoes in the office...this is a CITY office, albeit a small MI city but a MUNICIPAL ENTITY none-the-less!!

    I would like to know if I could take some action for the yelling incident as well or has the ship sailed on that one? It occurred in December 2011.

    I called today to MI's EEO Tonya Williams and left her message as well, but only about the form crazy lady em'd to my hubby for our mortgage comp. It seems to me crazy lady is just being vindictive for what reason I don't know as during the whole time I was nothing but professional in my dealings with her, even when she called me into her office to terminate me, I have not seen or talked to her excepting today to get the emp date for my lender, to me she is just stress that I do not want in my life & I am actually glad she termed me as it enabled me to get with this awesome comp I'm with now! Higher pay, unlimited PTO & great co-workers closer to my age!! (Sorry had to gush a little!)

    Thanks to all who offer help with this!!

  • #2
    You are quite, quite wrong that an employer can be sued for slander if they give more than dates - as long as the information they provide is true. That is a myth, and truth is always an absolute defense to slander. Is anything that was said untrue?

    There is no action you can take because you got yelled at for wearing cords to work, nor could you have done so if it happened yesterday. That is simply not actionable.
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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    • #3
      Michigan employers are immune from civil liability for disclosing information about an employee's work performance that is documented in the employee's personnel file as long as the disclosure is made in good faith. Employers are presumed to be acting in good faith at the time information is given unless (1) the employer knew the information disclosed was false or misleading, (2) the employer disclosed the information with a reckless disregard for the truth, or (3) the disclosure was specifically prohibited by a state or federal statute.

      Also agree with cbg that there is no action you can take for being yelled at for wearing cords.
      Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

      Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

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      • #4
        If she wrote the actual reason for terming you (despite the odd nature of it) then that is the truth and not slander.

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        • #5
          Most states have actual laws protecting employers from civil liability for furnishing truthful information re "work performance".
          Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

          Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

          Comment

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