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defamation and workplace violence

  • Thread starter cheryl crawford
  • Start date

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cheryl crawford

I am a State of Va employee. A co-worker recently filed a complaint to the Governor's Office against a peer for threatening/harrassing behaviors. A full-scale investigation was launched by my department's internal audit division. Over 30 employees lined up to testify about situations they had witnessed/been a part of in which the employee harassed/threatened themselves or others.

During the course of the investigation, the employee
made the comment "I'm ready to climb the watertower". He
admitted making the comment and defined his comment
(in writing) as "going postal, going ballistic."
He dismissed it as a joke.

He was terminated for his behaviors.

By the time the statement rumor had gotten to me,
it was "I'm ready to climb a water tower with
a shotgun." I tried to confirm this with the
person who reportedly shared the comment with
a co-worker. She was away from her office. I
asked her supervisor, the Human Resource Director,
if he had heard her mention anything (reportedly,
she was in the room when he made the remark).

I reported his comment to my supervisor as "I've heard
a rumor that X employee has made a statement in the
presence of others that he wants to climb a water tower
and has a gun." I asked my supervisor (the hospital
director) to investigate.

The former employee has now filed a civil defamation
of character suit against myself and 2 other
employees. I am being represented by the
Attorney General's Office.

I can find no law that protects someone who
reports potential acts of workplace violence.
Do you believe he has a strong case?



If the former employee admitted that he did say it and said it was a joke then it is not a defamation of character.

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