defamation of character

  1. I hope I am posting this in the right spot. I would like to have some feedback on a recent problem I have encountered in my 3 year long, nursing career. About 2 weeks ago, I sent an email to my boss informing her that I would be putting in for a transfer to a differant unit. I have been an ICU nurse for the past 3 years and am wanting to work with babies. I was told by several of my peers that I should wait until after my evaluation before I put in for this transfer. Time was an issue because I did not want to lose this position, so I gave my notice via email as our hospital policy dictates. The previous day, my assistant manager reviewed my evaluation with me one-on-one in her office, behind closed doors. She had informed me that my evaluation would be the same as the previous year which was fine with me. It was above average and I received a 95cent raise. The following day, my evaluation was not online for me to check and approve, so I decided to give my notice to leave my current position and go else where. One week later,which was yesterday, my evaluation was there. I was nervous because what my peers had told me about my boss doing mean and devious things if you leave her unit, I was reluctanct to open and review my evaluation. The story by my assistant director was our director was at home sick due to a recent surgery. I had a close friend of mine look at my evaluation and tell me what she thought. She read my evaluation and said " I can't believe what they wrote". I read it at that time and my evaluation looked so horrible, I counldn't finish reading it. I declined it in writing, stating it was an "unacceptable evaluation" and I refused it. The eval said that I continuously complain about my assignments, I don't help out, I can only handle the moderate ICU pts, I close the door if working with an ICU pt and the list goes on and on until I quit reading it. There were approximately 7 other staff there that all said what a bunch of BS and "how can she do that". I have never over my last 3 years working for the same 2 people been given a verbal or written reprimand. I have never been confronted on my attitude or behavior about having any of this problems listed in my evaluation. I found out later that my nursing director has done this to several other RN's who left her unit. I know this is kind of long and drawn out thread, but can anyone give me input on where to go from here. I have exceptional support from my co-workers who told me they would all give my a great references, but this information is a "defamation of my character" , is so undeserving and I do not want this information viewed by anyone else. PLEASE HELP....
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    About imnrn2

    Joined: May '06; Posts: 2


  3. by   Tweety
    I'm sorry to hear that. I'm not sure what recourse you have. Maybe someone who understands legal jargon can help you, but I think "defmation of character" is a little more than a bad evaluation. It's tough when it's our word against management's in an evaluation.

    Good luck.
  4. by   NurseCard
    I'm confused. First you said you wanted to transfer to another unit in the hospital, but then you said a couple of other things in your post that lead me to believe that you are just going to leave the hospital that you are in entirely, and move on to another hospital. Which is it?

    If you are planning on working for another hospital, with an entirely different corporation... I don't know that I would worry about the evaluation. First of all, unless you give your boss as a professional reference, your boss really can't tell anyone anything, other than confirm that you were an employee with her. Second of all, YOU know that the evaluation isn't true. Your close friends and collegues know that it isn't true, and I'll bet that they would gladly vouch for you.

    If however, you are just looking to transfer within the hospital, or within the company... that may be different. I know that if I want to transfer to another unit, the manager of that unit receives an evaluation of my work, from my current manager. If the evaluation is poor, then I won't get the job.

    If the latter is the case... my advice to you would be to contact your human resources department and/or your Ethics officer, if your hospital has one. Let them know the situation.

    Also, I'm with Tweety in that I'm not sure that a bad written job evaluation = defamation of character.

  5. by   sirI
    hello, imnrn2,

    employment-related defamation occurs when an employer lies about an employee, causing harm to the employee's career or coworkers not to associate with the empoyee.

    each state has its own laws. but generally speaking, you can likely sue if an employer issues a false statement that hurts your career and you can prove it. such legal action is typically called a defamation lawsuit. your case will be stronger if you can prove that your employer acted with malice, intentionally crafting a lie designed to hurt your career.

    consequently, if your employer candidly issues an employment-related statement about you that's allowed by state law, it's not likely to be defamation of character even if it hurts your career. if you file a defamation lawsuit anyway and your employer proves in court that the statement was true, then you might suffer further damage to your career.

    the laws of defamation differ by state, so make sure to check your local statutes if you feel you have been defamed.