Slandered By My Boss!

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about  the  boss’ lying:

I recently found out my boss was lying to my dm so I wouldn’t move up in the company. Is this slander?

Signed, Still Where I Am

Dear Still Where I Am:

Slander is a legal matter. Our site addresses workplace communication related questions, and of course talk against another person is communication, but we don’t provide legal advice. (*See a definition at the close of this answer).

You probably are familiar with the definition of slander and feel you reputation has been harmed because you ask if your boss’ lying about you to your “dm” is slander. If you want to know if you have a case, consult a local attorney. You’ll need to provide as complete as possible a description of when, where, and what was said, who witnessed it, and evidence did and/or is the cause of harm to you. Apparently you believe that lying about you is the reason for you not “moving up” in your company and not other reasons.

Rather than assume the reason for you being locked into your current position, possibly a more productive tact for you would be to look in the mirror and ask, “If I managed this company, would I promote (Insert your name here). I’ll just use the initials JJ? What projects has JJ completed? Is JJ the most competent among coworkers? Does JJ show up early and volunteer for extra work? Has JJ suggested ways to cut wasted supplies, wasted energy, wasted time and wasted money? Does JJ cooperate with his boss? Is JJ honest and reliable? Do coworkers respect JJ? Would JJ be elected by coworkers to speak for them? Is JJ cool headed? Is JJ a cheerleader? ” Is JJ a good communicator?” You might end that look in the mirror with the question: “Does JJ walk on water?”

I’m kidding about that last question, but I think you get my point; not being promoted could hinge on many factors and earning a promotion is more than simply thinking you deserve one. Apparently, you don’t have a good working relationship with your boss. If you did, you wouldn’t accuse her/him of lying about you. Now the subsequent question is: are you going to fight what you think are lies your boss told about you? If so, how? Will you confront your boss? Will you go to the dm to learn what your boss said and can you prove your boss lied? ou would not be wrong to meet with your boss to ask about what you think was a lie about you. Nor if the lie seriously harmed your good name, you shouldn’t be shy about Human Resources to investigate. And if you had witnesses and hard evidence, you might consult an attorney.

However, slander is hard to prove and harm from slander is even harder to prove; therefore, I suggest if you are seriously committed to a career within your place of work that a wiser move would be to improve the quality of your work and working relationships. Does this make sense? Above all, don’t allow your boss lying about you, whether rumor or fact, to become a topic of hateful talk about your boss.

I propose you think of it this way: “I’ll tell the boss what I’ve heard was said about me that I think is a lie, and I’ll ask what might have prompted a lie? Or at least I’ll look the boss in the eye and deny a lie that I heard said and do what I can to help her/him see me differently, as responsible and competent, as one who wants to earn advancement.”

In closing, I suggest that you think big rather that think about only yourself. Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS. Thinking big will get you farther than thinking someone did you dirt. Slander is oral defamation, in which someone tells one or more persons an untruth about another which untruth will harm the reputation of the person defamed. Slander is a civil wrong (tort) and can be the basis for a lawsuit. Damages (payoff for worth) for slander may be limited to actual (special) damages unless there is malicious intent, since such damages are usually difficult to specify and harder to prove. Some statements such as an untrue accusation of having committed a crime, having a loathsome disease, or being unable to perform one’s occupation are treated as slander per se since the harm and malice are obvious, and therefore usually result in general and even punitive damage recovery by the person harmed. Words spoken over the air on television or radio are treated as libel (written defamation) and not slander on the theory that broadcasting reaches a large audience as much if not more than printed publications.

William Gorden