Some laws against oral defamation in the workplace prohibit defamatory statements in the workplace that injure a person's reputation, explains the Houston Chronicle. Defamation laws automatically assume a person suffers damages if another person says untrue things that accuse the person of sexual misconduct or criminal behavior.
Laws that prohibit discrimination against an employee on the basis of sexual orientation may also come into play in the context of a slander complaint, but most of these laws exist at the local level as of 2015, according to EmployeeIssues.com. Laws against oral defamation usually state that the slanderous statement must be a factual statement, which means that a person does not run afoul of defamation laws by stating a derogatory opinion of a person.
In most cases, a defamed person collects the most damages if they show that the defamatory statement prevented them from obtaining a new job or advancing in their current employment, as Tech Republic explains. Defamation liability also extends to employers in certain circumstances. Employees and employers face penalties under federal civil rights legislation for harassing an employee because of gender or sex-related issues. Truth is a valid defense to allegations of defamation, which means that a person may say something about another person without running afoul of defamation laws if the statement is true.
Additional laws in some states allow employers to speak candidly about former employees during background checks and in employee recommendations without violating defamation laws. Other laws limit the amount of time a person has to file a lawsuit seeking damages for defamation, as detailed by the Houston Chronicle.