What is the Difference Between Workplace Defamation in California and Public Defamation?

Understanding Defamation Laws and Your Rights to Compensation

Defamation is a broad legal term referring to written or spoken statements that damage a person’s reputation. Under California law, an individual can file a civil lawsuit against another person for defamation if they can show that the false statement was published and caused them injury. Defamation can occur almost anywhere, including in the workplace, at school, home, or in a public forum. 

At Levin & Nalbandyan, LLC, we understand how important your reputation is, particularly in the workplace. Our employment law attorneys represent individuals who have been mistreated on the job, including those that have suffered from work-related defamation of character. If your employer or coworker has created a hostile work environment through their actions or words, contact our office at (213) 232-4848 for a free, confidential consultation.  

Defamation on Trial

The recent defamation trial between ex-spouses Amber Heard and Johnny Depp has many people wondering what the term means and whether someone can file a lawsuit based on someone else’s statement. 

In the case, Johnny Depp filed a defamation lawsuit against his ex-wife Amber Heard for an op-ed she wrote alleging domestic abuse and sexual violence during their marriage. Depp claims that the published statements are false and their publications caused injury in the form of economic losses.

What is Defamation?

Defamation is a false statement that is intentionally published, resulting in damage to the person’s reputation. The statement cannot be privileged communication, or it is not considered defamation.

Defamation can be written or spoken. A defamatory statement that is written (as in the Heard/Depp trial) is considered libel, whereas a statement that is spoken is considered slander. 

It is important to note that while a plaintiff must prove that the defamatory statement was published, it does not mean that it must be printed. In general, it is easier to prove libel since there is more often physical proof of defamation. 

What is Workplace Defamation?

In the workplace, defamatory statements can be particularly damaging. Work-related defamation may affect a person’s ability to obtain a promotion, create a hostile work environment, or result in harassment. 

Workplace defamation can take many forms and may include an employer making false statements in an effort to prevent a person from taking a new job. It can also occur if a person claims that you have an infectious disease or falsely accuses you of committing a crime. 

Defamation of character in the workplace is wrong and cannot be tolerated. An employment law attorney can help you understand your rights and file a claim against any liable parties for their wrongdoing. It is important to act quickly since you only have a limited amount of time to file a defamation lawsuit in California. 

What is Public Defamation?

Any false statement, written or oral, that tarnishes a person’s reputation may be considered public defamation. Today, individuals are able to publish and disseminate false information about other people faster than ever through social media. 

Defamatory statements can be made about private and public figures. However, a public figure (as in Johnny Depp’s case) must prove that the person making the defamatory statement acted with “actual malice” or a reckless disregard for the truth. 

Suffered Defamation in the Workplace? Contact Our Office.

If you were defamed at work, contact our office at (213) 232-4848 for a free consultation. Our attorneys have obtained millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients. Let us help you get the compensation you deserve. Call now to speak directly with a lawyer about your rights.




If your claim has been denied or your attorney has decided to give up, reach out to our firm for a second opinion.