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Defamation, often referred to as ‘Defamation of Character,’ is a legal claim that allows a person to seek damages relating to their reputation being harmed by the communication of false information. Not only can defamatory statements cause harm to an individual’s reputation, but also their career. Employees may lose their job, and in some cases, face difficulty finding another job. Especially if their previous employer published the defamatory statements in connection with their termination. The Chicago defamation lawyers of the Zoldan Law Group PLLC represents employees who have been harmed as a result of defamation. Call (312) 980-9992 and schedule your confidential case evaluation today.
Defamation is typically broken into two categories, libel or slander. Libel is defamation in the form of written content, including signs and pictures. Whereas, slander is oral defamation, and involves any untrue statements spoken about an individual. However, the state of Illinois does not distinguish between the two categories, and defines defamation as a statement that, “harms a person’s reputation because it lowers the person in the eyes of others or deters others from associating with her or him” (Hadley v. Doe, 2015 IL 118000, ¶ 30).
The state of Illinois allows for the filing of defamation suits under two provisions: per se and per quod.
Lawsuits filed under defamation per se involve statements that are so egregious, they are considered inherently defamatory. This includes statements, for example, implying the plaintiff committed a crime, fraud, moral turpitude. The harm is evident in such statements. In defamation per se cases, the plaintiff is not required to prove actual damages in order to win.
Claims which cannot be filed as defamation per se, must be filed under defamation per quod. In these cases, the plaintiff must prove actual damages, and the jury decides if the statement in question carries a defamatory meaning. Actual damages can consist of any resulting negative consequences the plaintiff suffered; such as lost wages, future lost earning capacity, or other lost business or career opportunities.
In the workplace, examples of defamation can be:
In order to state a cause of action for defamation in Illinois, the plaintiff must allege the following four elements:
The state’s statue of limitations allows an action for defamation to be commenced up to one year from the publication of the defamatory statement.
Victims of defamation do not have much time to pursue a claim. Get in touch with us to schedule a confidential consultation with our Chicago defamation and harassment lawyers, so we may evaluate your case and let you know how we can help.