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What action can I take against a colleague who made a false accusation?

Dear Nancy,

I am a RN. A social worker where I am employed has alleged that I set up another social worker to be sexually harassed by a patient. What action can I take against her? I can prove without a doubt this is a false and fabricated accusation.


Dear Lucy,

Your best bet is to contact a nurse attorney or other attorney in your state who can specifically advise you as to what your course of action should be. This would be particularly important since it sounds like the social worker has spoken about these false allegations to others, which if proven, is clearly defamation. Defamation has been the subject of several recent columns so you might want to review those responses in order to gain some preliminary information about slander, which is spoken defamation.

You did not include much information in your question, including whether you experienced any adverse employment ramifications due to this allegation. If so, you will need to discuss that aspect of this situation with your attorney as well.

If your employer believes the allegations to be true, it might report you to your state board of nursing. Share this concern with the attorney with whom you meet so if he does not represent nurses in professional disciplinary proceedings — should one be initiated by the board — he can make a referral to a colleague who does practice in this area.

Cordially, Nancy

By | 2021-05-07T16:32:58-04:00 July 15th, 2015|Categories: Nursing Careers and Jobs|0 Comments

About the Author:

Nancy J. Brent, MS, JD, RN
Our legal information columnist Nancy J. Brent, MS, JD, RN, received her Juris Doctor from Loyola University Chicago School of Law and concentrates her solo law practice in health law and legal representation, consultation and education for healthcare professionals, school of nursing faculty and healthcare delivery facilities. Brent has conducted many seminars on legal issues in nursing and healthcare delivery across the country and has published extensively in the area of law and nursing practice. She brings more than 30 years of experience to her role of legal information columnist. Her posts are designed for educational purposes only and are not to be taken as specific legal or other advice. Individuals who need advice on a specific incident or work situation should contact a nurse attorney or attorney in their state. Visit The American Association of Nurse Attorneys website to search its attorney referral database by state.

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