Defamation and Loss of Reputation



Call:(416) 921 7997 Ext. 225


Featured by as most frequently recommended employment lawyer.

Defamation is the legal concept of loweringan individual’s reputation in the eyes of a reasonable person


Damage of Reputation

Libel refers to printed statements, whereas slander covers spoken statements that damage one’s reputation. All parties should remember that truth is a defence to defamation. If an employer makes an intentional misstatement or a reckless misstatement, the former employee can sue for loss of reputation. For an employee to obtain an award of damages for defamation, they must show that the words in question actually referred to them specifically and that the words were “published”, meaning they were communicated to at least one other person. An employer has several possible defences to a defamation claim by an employee. The first is truth – if the statement is true, there can be no defamation. The employer can also claim that the statement was covered by qualified privilege, meaning the employer had a legitimate reason for making the statement and shared it only with those who had a legitimate reason for receiving it. In such a case, the statement will be protected, even if false, if it was made without malice.

​If the former employer gives a negligent reference or makes a negligent misstatement which causes the employee to incur damages, the employee can sue in a separate action for negligent misstatement. Note that former employers are allowed to give honest references, even if they are less than glowing, so long as they are telling the truth. However, employers should always be careful of what they say to third parties with respect to the work performance and dismissal of former employees. Please see Spring v Guardian Assurance (1994), 16 C.C.E.L. (2d) 147 (H.L.); Young v Bella (2006), 261 DLR (4th) 416 (S.C.C.) and Litster v. British Columbia Ferry Corp. (2003), 24 C.C.E.L. (3d) 95 (B.C.S.C.). Please note that the above information does not constitute legal advice. It is general information about the law. If you require legal advice with an employment issue, please contact the experts at Ball Professional Corporation.


Featured Publications

Canadian Employment Law

Mr. Ball is author of the authoritative and definitive text Canadian Employment Law - published by Canada Law Book (a division of Thomson Reuters). The text is used and cited by lawyers, law schools and judges across Canada.

To order Mr. Ball's Canadian Employment Law please visit the Carswell Store by clicking here or on the button below.


“ Stacey Ball is the ultimate in employment lawyers. He got me an excellent settlement and I referred him to fellow long term employees whom I know were very happy in their outcome. I cannot recommend him enough; his name alone will give you clout. This is the guy who wrote the book. He is the best. ”
- John Cunningham, Toronto, ON

“ I was strongly advised by another client to see Stacey Ball. At the initial consultation I found Stacey to be very candid, honest and confident. He was very knowledgeable and upfront about reasonable expectations. He acted quickly on my behalf, which resulted in a fair settlement. I would recommend Stacey to anyone who wishes to use a pro, who knows the law, and is the best employment lawyer in the business. ”
- Todd Kemp, Oshawa, ON

“ I would highly recommend Stacey Ball as an employment lawyer. He was honest, hard working on my behalf and obtained an excellent settlement. I found him to be the top and best employment lawyer I could have obtained. ”
- Lou T. Richmond Hill, ON

“ Stacey Ball is the best employment lawyer you can have on your side in Toronto. There is no employment lawyer representing employees with a stronger track record than him. In my experience, he gets the results that meet your needs, even against the most stubborn employers. Had I not gone with Stacey, I would have gotten nothing because that was what my employer insisted on until he intervened on my behalf. He is the best and top employment lawyer. ”
- James Yu, Toronto, ON

“ I first used Stacey over a decade ago to review personal and business employment contracts. Stacey is arguably the best employment law lawyer in both Canada and south of the border. His intimate knowledge of the law is second to none. He is readily available for any situation which requires a quick, frank and authentic response. I would highly recommend him for both individuals and organizations alike.​ ”
- Antoinette St. Angelo, V.P. & Director of Production Services, Toronto, ON