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Thread: Reverse Discrimination??? Alabama

  1. #1

    Default Reverse Discrimination??? Alabama

    I (was) employed as a Nurse Manager for a very large provider of Home Services. At the request of my boss--I was asking one of my nurses about the details surrounding a potential service concern with one of our patients. I had asked 3-4 (informational only) questions and she (I suspect) realized that she was "telling on herself". She quickly changed her demeanor. She became loud, confrontational and accused me and the company of being racist. Fortunately, my door was open and a co-worker was in ear shot, and as soon as she started to "escalate" I called a second supervisor in to witness. Time of interaction 1:1 less than 3-min. Total interaction time with 2nd supervisor perhaps another 3-5 min. The racial allegations were leveled after and in presence of 2nd supervisor.
    Problems: 1. She is African American Female. I am White Male.
    2. We were previously co-workers.
    3. My supervisor is in personal protection mode, as the nurse accused her of racism over the phone as well--and she is "job scared".
    4. I was "counseled" in the past--less than one year--for staff allegations of unclear expectations. This could be a positive, as it too was a 'scapegoat' move on company/ management's part.

    I insisted that this (defamation?) be addressed. The regional operational person was brought in and I was asked to leave.
    Any help, or suggestions? I understand that this may be a corporate move of expedience. It is troubling to me that it is--and I would like for it not to be.
    Are there any favorable verdicts on the books for situations similar to mine?
    Also, what are the odds of winning a civil tort for defamation against the nurse who brought the allegation in the first place?

    Any direction, or insight welcomed and appreciated.

  2. #2
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    I'm not seeing where there is any defamation at all, nor anything to bring a suit for. You asked an employee questions (can't say whether it was handled appropriately or not as I was not there) and that employee accused you of racism. That isn't defamation but I can totally understand why an outside nuetral party was brought in to investigate.
    I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

  3. #3

    Default Afraid as much

    Quote Originally Posted by ElleMD View Post
    I'm not seeing where there is any defamation at all, nor anything to bring a suit for. You asked an employee questions (can't say whether it was handled appropriately or not as I was not there) and that employee accused you of racism. That isn't defamation but I can totally understand why an outside nuetral party was brought in to investigate.
    I fear that the league of attorneys at the company's disposal had already calculated as much. It was the logical choice, actually: Replace a mid-manager vs risk an expensive lawsuit for discrimination filed by the nurse against me, my supervisor, and the company.
    I was actually looking at the false statement: you are questioning my judgement because you are racist…that resulted in my harm: termination. I do not understand the legal requirements, but a lie allowed to stand that produces a negative result based solely on the premise of its accuracy aught to have a name like defamation.

    Another example of the difference between the law and justice. Thanks for your wisdom.

  4. #4
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    If that is her honest opinion, then it is not in any way defamation. Not every lie is defamation nor is every incorrect interpretation of motive. Right now i think you are jumping to conclusions. Sure your fear may be realized but it is much more likely that if you have held yourself above board and acted in an objective manor based on the facts, that the investigation will bear that out.
    I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

  5. #5
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    Defamation is legally complicated, especially in a labor law context. In addition to proving that the statement is false, you have to also prove malice in the statement/actions, and then prove actual damages.

    Labor law complicates the matter because there is no legal right to keep one's job. Even if you can prove the statement was false, and you can prove malice on the part of the person making the statement, you would still need to separately proof malice on the employer's part to make them potentially liable for believing the statement.
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
    Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

  6. #6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DAW View Post
    Defamation is legally complicated, especially in a labor law context. In addition to proving that the statement is false, you have to also prove malice in the statement/actions, and then prove actual damages.

    Labor law complicates the matter because there is no legal right to keep one's job. Even if you can prove the statement was false, and you can prove malice on the part of the person making the statement, you would still need to separately proof malice on the employer's part to make them potentially liable for believing the statement.
    There will be no investigation. Company just terminated me rather than risk it. Cheaper to replace me than defend me.
    Thanks for the reality check though.

  7. #7
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    The key to remember is that employer's are not courts of law. They have to listen to allegations, and they often have to react to allegations, but they are not generally held to the same standards that a criminal court is held to.
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
    Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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