Ask The Lawyer

By Debra Roth

Q & A Session – Libel?

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Ask the Lawyer received the following question (paraphrased for easier reading and clarity) from a reader on a legal matter that might be of interest to the entire audience.

Q:

Should I hire a private lawyer to defend myself against what I believe is libel from a union official? I am a manager, GS-14, and have received a copy of an email from this individual sent to the highest levels of management within my agency, accusing me of outrageously unprofessional behavior.

A:

Libel or slander are common law torts that normally can be the subject of a lawsuit. However, federal employees, acting within the scope of their employment, are immune from suit for common law torts. Your union official most likely fits into this category.

Bill Bransford is managing partner of Shaw Bransford & Roth PC.

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