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Suppose there is a group of people being contacted by an outside agency at the business they are working at. The outside agency is lying about a particular employee's behavior and convincing this group the person is not mentally well. Would the outside agency be slandering the employee's reputation? Thus altering opinions and behavior of other employees against the individual? Even encouraging the group of employees to take action against the particular employee.

Would this constitute a slander lawsuit against the group of employees and outside agency?

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    What jurisdiction (country, province, state etc) are you in?
    – user35069
    May 19, 2021 at 18:26
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    To echo Rock Ape, the law of slander is very different in the U.S. than in most other jurisdictions.
    – ohwilleke
    May 19, 2021 at 20:58
  • The country is the United States.
    – Dave
    May 21, 2021 at 17:26

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Partial answer (other parts of an answer would be jurisdiction specific):

Would this constitute a slander lawsuit against the group of employees and outside agency?

The employee falsely alleged to be mentally ill would be the plaintiff who would be the only person who would have standing to bring suit.

The person allegedly making a false statement to someone other than the employee alleged to be mentally ill (an action which is called "publication" of a false statement) would be the defendant(s).

Listening to an allegedly false statement about someone is not slander, nor is believing it to be true.

In the U.S., in most cases, knowledge of the truth or reckless disregard for the truth (or at least negligence in getting the facts wrong in private persons cases not involving a public interest) is necessary to establish liability. Someone who doesn't know that a statement is false and has some basis to believe it is true, can't be guilty of slander.

In many non-U.S. jurisdictions, slander liability is possible without knowledge that the statement made is false (and without reckless disregard for the truth or falsity of the statement).

Also, it matter who the "outside agency" is in this case. Governmental agencies are typically immune from liability for slander for statements made in the course of their official duties. Without a fuller understanding of who is saying something and why, it is hard to evaluate the claim appropriately.

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  • ohwilleke When you said, "Listening to an allegedly false statement about someone is not slander...". What if the statements from the outside agency doing this alters their opinions about the person and encourages the employees to take action against the individual? The actions could amount to confining the person this is happening to and restricting his freedoms based on lies said about the person. This is happening in the U.S.A.
    – Dave
    May 21, 2021 at 17:33
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    @Dave One of the elements of slander is publication of the falsehood. The fact that people believe the falsehood and take action based upon it is part of the damages element in a slander case. Forming opinions and taking actions based upon false statements that you believe to be true without republishing the false statements is not actionable.
    – ohwilleke
    May 24, 2021 at 17:01

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