How a Former Employer May Engage in Defamation in California

By: JML Law | February 7, 2023.
How a Former Employer May Engage in Defamation in California

Your reputation can play a critical role in your professional life. If potential employers have heard false rumors about your competence, ethics, etc., your ability to thrive in your chosen career may be limited.

Unfortunately, for various reasons, a former employer might make false statements about you that end up having this effect. In California, such behavior is known as defamation, and it’s against the law.

Do you believe a former employer has committed defamation in a manner that is preventing you from achieving your goals? If so, discuss your case with an attorney. At JML Law, a Los Angeles defamation lawyer will review your case and explain whether you have justification to take legal action.

There are various ways a former employer can engage in defamation in California. These are merely a few common examples:

Making False Statements to Potential Employers

This is the most basic and straightforward form defamation may take. If a former employer makes false statements to a potential new employer of yours, they are interfering with your ability to secure a new job. Your former employer may make false statements if a potential new employer contacts them for a reference, or they may reach out to those in your industry directly to warn them against hiring you.


A former employer may engage in defamation even if they don’t technically make direct statements to a new employer for whom you may wish to work. If a former employer publishes false statements about you or makes false statements in a public forum (such as on social media), those statements could easily make their way back to a new employer. This also qualifies as defamation.


There are some instances in which employers commit defamation even if they don’t overtly make any negative false statements about former employees. If a former employer makes statements that imply a former employee was troublesome, they may still be harming their reputation.

That said, proving a former employer’s statements are suggestive enough to qualify as defamation can be challenging. This is one of many reasons it’s important to coordinate with a lawyer when building a case. An expert attorney can help you show how an employer broke the law when they subtly implied any potential new employers shouldn’t hire you.

The Importance of Intent in California Defamation Cases

If you need another reason to strongly consider enlisting the help of a Los Angeles employment law attorney when filing a defamation claim or lawsuit against a former employer, consider the following: In California, typically, to prove defamation, you must prove that an employer knew the statements they were making were false and could have a negative impact on your reputation. Essentially, you must prove intent.

This is another task our team of Los Angeles defamation attorneys at JML Law can assist you with. If you believe you have a valid case against a former employer, we’re prepared to offer the representation you deserve. Learn more about what we can do for you by contacting us online or calling us at 818-610-8800 today!

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