Understanding Defamation, Slander, and Libel

As a business owner you have the responsibility to protect your company from a variety of problems, including unfair competition and wrongful attacks. When someone else does or says something that is untrue it may cause you to lose business. Others may hear or read things that could make them have a negative opinion of your company. Company owners and managers need to have an understanding of defamation, slander, and libel in order to protect their business against these situations.


Defamation is the general category of destructive actions that are intentionally taken against a person or business for the purpose of harming them.  There are two main types of defamation including slander and libel. The terms are often used interchangeably. Defamation can happen when someone says or prints something negative about your business, which is untrue. These issues can cause your business to lose customers and money.

Slander and Libel

Slander is defamation that is made verbally while libel is written defamation. Generally, a business needs to prove that libel caused harm to the business in order to take civil legal action. Slander is usually considered to cause harm and therefore does not require the same level of proof of harm. If the slander continues, you may request a restraining order to prohibit the person from continued defamation.

How to Handle Defamation

When your business is threatened by defamation it requires action. It is advisable to speak with an experienced attorney who will review your situation and determine your options. In some cases, a “cease and desist” letter will be enough to stop the actions from happening in the future. In addition to requiring the person to agree to stop future defamation, you should also request that the person remove any defamatory statements from social media or other places. If a person ignores the request and continues to defame your business, you have the right to take legal action against him.

Seek Legal Help

Defamation can and does hurt businesses. If someone has made false statements against your company you need to make it stop. It is important to understand that not all negative statements are considered defamatory. Only statements that are false can be considered slander or libel. If your company finds out about defamation it is best to talk to an attorney regarding the situation. Your lawyer will help you resolve the problem and assist you in retaining your good reputation. Contact the skilled legal team at Udall Shumway PLC to schedule a consultation.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Defamation, Slander, and Libel, or any other litigation matter, please feel free to contact Stockton D. Banfield at 480.461.5356, log on to udallshumway.com, or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.