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Could this be a case of defamation?

Discussion in 'Termination: Firing & Resignation' started by Lilla, Dec 12, 2020.

  1. Lilla

    Lilla Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I got fired from my job as a contractor without any warning and the reason that was stated to my contracting agency was poor job performance. I was fired after not submitting some paperwork on time for a client, which cost the company $12,000. This new field I’m in, mistakes will happen and they will be costly to the company however, both the employees and company do their best to mitigate them.

    I’m not disputing the mistake however, I am claiming that I received poor training in my position. We received this project when I was 4 months on the job and the mistake was caught 5 months later. I’m not sure if it’s fair to say poor performance on something I had no idea I had to do. Had I be properly trained, I would have known what to do and submitted the correct paperwork on time.
    In actuality, I did submit the paperwork but what I submitted wasn’t enough.

    The irony is that when we received the project, I specifically asked my coworker who was training me at the time, if there was anything in particular I needed to know or if there was anything different about it, since this particular project was highlighted in our meeting and she said no, it’s just the usual.

    So I just proceeded as usual not knowing there was an additional submission that needed to be made.

    When my coworker found out about the mistake and let me know, I wasn’t even aware of what she was referring to as I never had to do that before.

    When I said that to my coworker, she said I should’ve noticed something was different and asked her what to do. But I did ask in the beginning when we received the project, if we needed to review it together and she said I was fine. I even still had our Teams chat communication to prove that I did ask her.

    So the day the mistake was found, my account was deactivated as soon as I logged off and my agency contacted me to tell me I got fired. My direct supervisor never reached out. I’m assuming my coworker and her had a discussion about the matter, but I was never included in that discussion and nobody bothered to hear my side of the story. My coworker also never let me know what was going on. I was fired and told not to contact anyone from the company.

    So fast forward 4 months later, I got a job offer and they will be running a background check. If my ex boss mentions I was fired due to poor performance and I don’t get the job, do I have a case for defamation since they never bothered to find out how/why that mistake happen?

    This was an at-will contract so I guess they didn’t even have to let me know I was getting fired, although I would think decent people would, but I have my email exchanges with my coworker telling me to proceed as usual with this project. So I can definitely say I wasn’t properly trained.

    Also this isn’t the first mistake with my coworker. The very 1st project she trained me on, some account numbers were not properly entered into a system which caused $2500 to the company. I had to make that costly mistake to learn never to type in account numbers. Those should be copied and pasted. My coworker has been with the company for 15 years. In my discussion with my supervisor, she did say that my coworker should’ve also paid attention, seeing I had just started.

    I’m not saying I’m not at fault in any of these issues as I should’ve probably be more careful. I helped improved their systems and taught the team how to use Sharepoint and Teams to increase efficiency, as well as a few other things that I helped improved, such as the platform where our projects were saved etc...So I don’t know if it’s fair to say poor job performance and get fired over something I had no idea I had to do.
    I also realize there are basically 2 costly mistakes under my name so it may be impossible to prove defamation.
  2. justblue

    justblue Well-Known Member

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    Did you have a contract with the employer? Were you union?
  3. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    No. This is not a case of defamation.
    justblue and hrforme like this.
  4. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    No, your employer is entitled to offer her/his/it's opinion to prospective employers who so inquire about your performance as an employee.

    That is in no manner, shape, or form the civil tort of defamation.
    justblue and hrforme like this.
  5. hrforme

    hrforme Active Member

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    you admit a large mistake was made, so that part is true, right? In the end, it would be very rare that an employer would be required to train you on every aspect of your job and not be able to terminate you because of a mistake, even if you were not trained.

    That said, most employers do not give that much information in a verification/reference.

    On a personal note, I suggest that you stop blaming others for your two large mistakes. Especially not as an answer in an interview process. Instead consider what you can learn from them and how to be diligent with tasks you are unfamilar with. Errors can be costly and employees can be terminated (and it was generous of them not terminate your contract after the first error)
    cynthiag, army judge and justblue like this.

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