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I was not hired by a facility because my supervisor told some very unfavorable lies about me. Can a nurse sue a hospital?

Friday December 14, 2012
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Question:

Dear Nancy,

I was not hired by a facility because my supervisor told some very unfavorable lies about me. Can a nurse sue a hospital?

Sam



Nancy Brent replies:

Dear Sam,

Any individual, including a nurse, can sue an individual employee and the hospital for defamation. Even those who have repeated the defamatory statements can also be included in such a suit. Defamation can be either spoken (slander) or written (libel).

It is difficult to prove whether slander or libel has taken place. Many times the defamatory statements are not written anywhere. If they are spoken, slander is sometimes harder to prove, since the individuals may have selective amnesia about what was said or what was repeated.

If the "unfavorable lies" were about your competency as a nurse, the law treats such cases differently because such statements affect you as a practicing professional. Consulting with a nurse attorney or attorney who can describe this aspect of the law of defamation, as well as represent you in your suit, should a suit be possible, is your best approach.

Cordially,
Nancy




Nancy J. Brent, RN, MS, JD, is an attorney in private practice in Wilmette, Ill. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as legal or any other advice. The reader is encouraged to seek the advice of an attorney or other professional when an opinion is needed.