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Character reference

Discussion in 'Alimony & Spousal Support' started by RPhillips1, Mar 28, 2019.

  1. RPhillips1

    RPhillips1 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
    Virginia
    My wife and I are divorcing. We are both residents of South Carolina. She has relocated to Virginia. She solicited my former employer (who happens to be one of her current clients) in Virginia to provide a character statement for her. He started the statement labeling it as a "affidavit for" with my wife's name and the date. He then proceeded to elaborate with a brief statement on MY job performance, which he praised. This was followed by a statement explaining a situation where my wages had to be garnished to repay a loan with a local credit union. He finished this section with a false statement regarding the condition of my resignation. Finally, he finished the affidavit with a paragraph elaborating on my wife's performance in her duties working for him.

    My questions are:
    1. Was he allowed to submit statements regarding my performance and/or the garnishment without my permission?
    2. Depending on the answer to #1, can I pursue a libel suit against him?
     
  2. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    In what context? A job reference? In the context of your divorce case? Something else?

    Submit them to whom? Regardless of your answer, I can't think of any circumstances in which your former employer might have needed your permission to make the statements in question.

    Libel is the writing of a false statement of fact that, which is published to at least one person other than the subject of the statement, which is harmful to a person's reputation, and which (in most cases) requires proof of actual damages. Your post is unclear about whether your former employer's statements met any of these criteria (while you mentioned "a false statement regarding the condition of my resignation," it's impossible to assess the matter without knowing the exact statement). Also statements in the context of legal proceedings are generally privileged against defamation/libel claims.
     
  3. RPhillips1

    RPhillips1 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Response: His (William's) false statement was, "Shortly after this situation (the garnishment) was brought to my attention, Richard informed me he was resigning to take another job out of state." This statement, in conjunction with other similar falsehoods in statements from my wife and two other people she solicited, have labeled me as one who consistently "quits" jobs. In this particular case, I had already submitted my 2 week notice to William because I was scheduled to start another job at a local RV Dealer. On my last day working for William (23 August 2013), I received a call from a recruiter regarding a job in Pennsylvania. Instead of starting the job at the RV Dealer on 26 August, I departed for Pennsylvania.
     
  4. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    There was nothing "false" about that statement if you actually did give your notice at some time after the garnishment was brought to William's attention.

    The statement, by itself, certainly doesn't lead to the conclusion that you are one who consistently "quits" job. There is certainly nothing actionable against your former employer.

    As to what your wife says about you during a divorce, that goes with the territory. Develop a thicker skin and get on with your life.
     
    hrforme likes this.
  5. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    That's not defamatory and, as "adjusterjack" indicated, doesn't appear to be false..

    Also, you didn't answer my question about context.
     
  6. RPhillips1

    RPhillips1 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Yes, I did.
    In what context? A job reference? In the context of your divorce case? Something else?

    Response: The statement was requested by my wife (likely under the guidance of her attorney) to support her character in the divorce proceedings.
     
  7. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    Looks like you buried it in with your quotes from my prior response.

    In any event, that this happened in the context of legal proceedings means it's likely privileged.
     
  8. RPhillips1

    RPhillips1 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    "goes with the territory" does not justify crossing the line into slander, defamation, or libel regardless how thick one's skin may be.
     

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