Will Defamation Claims in the #MeToo Movement Revive the Self-Defense Privilege for Employers?

In tandem with the growing #MeToo movement, the U.S. has seen a surge in public allegations and an uptick in defamation lawsuits against alleged offenders after they speak out in defense of their reputations. This article examines the self-defense privilege, which was last analyzed by a California court in 1936, and asks: Will we see a resurgence in the self-defense privilege as more employers speak out in an effort to protect their reputations?
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In tandem with the growing #MeToo movement, the U.S. has seen a surge in public allegations and an uptick in defamation lawsuits against alleged offenders after they speak out in defense of their reputations. This article examines the self-defense privilege, which was last analyzed by a California court in 1936, and asks: Will we see a resurgence in the self-defense privilege as more employers speak out in an effort to protect their reputations?

Kristina Pham, is a Silicon Valley-based associate with Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe and practices employment law. Kristina enjoys reading the news for pop culture employment issues and finding new places to explore in the Bay Area. She can be reached at (650) 614-7414 or kpham@orrick.com.

Kevin Whittaker, is Of Counsel with Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. He practices exclusively employment law and represents employers in California and throughout the country. He can be reached at (650) 614-7699 or kwhittaker@orrick.com.

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