Formal complaint letter sample against a person

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Writing a Complaint Letter for Bad Behavior of Colleague (with Sample)

Use this sample complaint letter for bad behavior of colleague as a template for your formal complaint letter. last updated on june 29th, 2022.


Samples That Show How to Write a Character Witness Statement

Character is often defined as an evaluation of a person's moral and mental qualities. The article below provides you with a character witness statement sample.

Character Witness Statement Sample

Character is often defined as an evaluation of a person’s moral and mental qualities. The article below provides you with a character witness statement sample.

“Everyone tries to define this thing called Character. It’s not hard. Character is doing what’s right when nobody’s looking.”

People feel a constant need to define what we call “character”. After all, isn’t it our character that allows us to command respect for ourselves? It seems almost unfortunate then, when people feel the need to point a finger at that very character. As clichéd as it may sound, a man without a character to vouch for, doesn’t have much going for him. It’s true, the age-old character validation bit, can never go wrong. That apart, who is a character witness, and what is it that is required of him? A character witness is a person who attests to another persons moral conduct or good reputation in a court of law. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to keep in mind that when writing a character witness statement for court, one ought to be very particular with regards to the content of the statement.

One may not realize, but character reference letters for court appearances could play a very large role is defining the rest of somebody’s life. The very fact that a person is making an appearance in court is enough to say something, and it is for this very reason that there is no scope for any mistake. When writing a character witness statement, this evaluation of a person’s qualities is the only thing that matters. You never know when you may be asked to write one for somebody you know. This may sound fairly intimidating by now, so some character certificate proformas are enlisted in the paragraphs to follow so that if ever the need arises, you know exactly how to write one.

Writing a Character Witness Statement

To whom it may concern,

Person’s Full Name (Person appearing)

I have known (name) for (years) as (state relationship e.g. friend, business associate, etc.). I can vouch for him / her, and say that he / she has been a person of morals and integrity over the time we have known each other.

I can further state that (name) has been immensely dedicated to his family and work, and a loving person towards friends too.

He / She has been known to be helpful and charitable, and is a much-loved person by all.

For your information, I am (state profession / position, and points to prove your own credibility).

Yours faithfully,

(Position if applicable).

To the Sentencing Judge,

Your Honor,

I have known (name) for (years) as (state relationship), and we have shared a close friendship through the years.

During the time that I have known (name), I have realized that he / she has been very reliable and trust worthy. (Name) has been through tough times, but has been very successfully made it through, and now has a well settled life.

I am aware that (name) has been charged for (state charge against person), but you may rest assured that he / she has never indulged in such behavior in the past, and what happened on that day was a mere lapse of judgment.

(Name) is embarrassed by his / her behavior, and is willing to pay for any damage that has been caused.

Yours sincerely,

These were just two samples in order to give you an idea about character witness statements, because as mentioned before, a man with an unreliable character hardly has much coming his way. And, never forget:

“Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

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Sample Workplace Harassment Complaint Letter

Workplace harassment refers to situations in which an individual or a group of people are being belittled or threatened by their coworkers. According to Civility Partners , 53% of employees who experienced harassment were so afraid of the hostile work environment that they didn’t report the incidents. This is the reason why the issue of workplace harassment has become one of the most sensitive areas of effective workplace management.

If you feel like you are being subjected to harassment in the workplace, you should take action against offensive and aggressive behavior. Rather than fighting the battle with a harasser on your own, you should write a workplace harassment complaint letter to have a more productive outcome. If you don’t know how to write this type of complaint letter, we are here to help you.

What Is Considered Unlawful Workplace Harassment?

To defend yourself against harassers properly, you need to know the answer to the question— what does it mean when someone is harassing you ? Unlawful workplace harassment refers to unwelcome physical or verbal behavior that effectively changes the terms and conditions of the employment contract. 

Unwelcome behavior is anything you find:

There are two main types of workplace harassment. Check out the overview in the table below :

Most people equate harassment with sexual harassment . Even though sexual harassment is a big component of the whole harassment concept, a hostile working environment can encompass several categories:

The workplace doesn’t only refer to a place where you work. A business trip also qualifies as your workplace.  

If you notice that the harasser is following you outside the working hours, you need to act fast and find a way to stop a stalker . Both offline and online stalkers (often referred to as cyber stalkers ) harass and intimidate their victims. Harassing phone calls can also be considered stalking. If the situation gets out of control, you can get protection through a restraining order .

What is Not Considered Workplace Harassment?

Just because someone is being mean to you at work, or you hear a bad joke, it does not mean you are being subjected to harassment. What you interpret as a hostile work environment comment, another person can roll right off their back and not find it insulting.

If two coworkers are debating something in a private conversation at work, the situation is not unwelcome if the participants don't feel threatened or offended . If you are a third person listening to the conversation, and you find it offended in any way—it means that the actions of your coworkers are creating a hostile environment for you.

A hostile work environment is complicated to prove because it calls for a series of events that need to occur over a period of time. Apart from being offensive to an individual, the law requires that a reasonable person also finds it offensive. 

If you are a particularly sensitive person, and you find someone’s words or actions offensive while a reasonable person doesn’t—you will have a hard time proving your case. One dirty-joke or one-lewd comment doesn’t mean you are being harassed.

Here Are Some Tips on How to Write a Workplace Harassment Complaint Letter

If you feel like you are being harassed in the workplace, you should report it.

You can always try to write a letter to the harasser, and explain to them how their actions are affecting you. If you prefer to make a disclosure to somebody else, write a workplace harassment complaint letter and provide as much information as you can.

Writing a harassment letter can take some time if you want to do it properly. It is essential to word the letter carefully, so that it is clear. How you phrase this letter depends on the circumstances of a specific situation, but it needs to get the point across. 

Check Your Workplace Policies First

An employee guide can provide you with the information about workplace policies as well as rules against harassment. You should check your company’s policy regarding unwelcome employment practices to know what to include in your letter.

If you still feel like you need more guidelines, make sure to contact the Human Resource department to obtain more information. 

Write the Letter While You Are Calm

Do not write the complaint letter while you are enraged. The ultimate goal is to get the results and not just get the anger out of your system. To achieve that goal, you need to keep the letter calm, factual, and respectful. 

If you wrote the letter while still angry, throw it away, and write another one. You will be able to state your case in a more comprehensive manner, once you cool off.

Keep the Letter Short

Even if you feel seriously aggravated by the situation, do not write too long a letter. Keep it short, simple, and concise. Although there’s no specific requirement for the length of these types of letters, the unwritten rule is to aim for 500 words.

You should write your letter in a formal business style. Do not write it using all uppercase—it is not appropriate regardless of how offended you may feel .

It is essential that you remain courteous at all times. The letter should not contain any threats, sarcasm, vulgarity, or offensive language. In some cases, such letters can be ignored entirely. You don’t want to risk coming off as a potential harasser yourself. Bear in mind that the person reading the letter is not responsible for the problem. 

If you have the name of a person you are sending the letter to, use it. If you don’t, stick to the most neutral greeting—Dear Sir or Madam. These honorific titles show respect and are more favorable than the distant-sounding—To whom it may concern.

Stick to the Facts

Even though the letter should not be long, you need to provide all the facts about the harassment. Do not leave out any relevant details and rely on the reader to make assumptions about the situation.

If you include enough information in your letter, you will help with the investigation and inquiry.

It would be highly useful if you added the consequences of the harassment to your mental or physical state (stress, embarrassment, injuries). If you want to prevail in a harassment case, you need to prove that the behavior of your coworker was so severe that it changed the working conditions and created an environment that you find abusive or hostile. 

Write Down Everything You’ve Experienced

It is essential that you write down everything while your memory is still fresh. If you send a letter to Human Resources, they will want to have all details of harassment included in it. Gather your thoughts, and note down as many details you can about what happened.

These are the details you should include in your letter:

You don’t need to follow the same order, but make sure to mention as many of these details as possible. 

Save the Copy of the Letter

After submitting a letter to a Human Resources department, a manager, or a supervisor, save one for yourself. Keep a copy of any written evidence of harassment, such as social media posts, emails, or text messages. You can capture screen images from your mobile phone or a computer. 

While the letter will hopefully bring resolution, you should use it as the proof of complaint, if the unwelcome behavior continues. 

It could be helpful if you recorded everything that happened by making a video or audio recording of yourself. Make sure to save the recording in case you need it in the future.

Witness Statement

If you have people who witnessed the harassment, it would be useful to obtain witness statements from your colleagues. Just like the letter, the statements should be short, and they can include:

Your colleague should sign the statement and provide their name and address. 

Sample Letter of Harassment Complaint

Here is the example of a well-composed complaint letter:

Your address

Your phone number

Name of recipient (Human Resources department, for example) 

Name of company/organization

Address of company/organization

Dear Sir or Madam, 

I am writing this letter to inform you about the recent events that have created a hostile atmosphere in my working environment. I feel like I have been subjected to insults and derogatory remarks by a coworker, Name of the harasser . This is a formal complaint of harassment that I have been subjected to, and I request an early action and proper investigation of the situation. 

I work in the Department name in the Company name , and have been employed here for four years. 

The harassment started on Date when Name of the harasser said that I would not be able to get a promotion just because I am a woman. The verbal abuse took place in the premises of the company.

On Date , Name of the harasser yelled at me because I refused to bring him a cup of coffee.

On Date , Name of the harasser threatened to steal my phone if I didn’t help him/her with his/her share of work. 

On Date , Name of the harasser told me that I deserved to be fired.

On Date , Name of the harasser spread false rumors about me around the office. 

Along with the letter, I have attached the statements of witnesses, Name of witness one, and Name of witness two , who heard the verbal abuse. 

I would like to point out that these repeated instances of harassment have caused me stress and anxiety, and they have been affecting my performance at work.

I would appreciate it if you could meet me to discuss the issue and take the necessary action regarding the matter. 

Best regards,

Make sure to make copies of the letter and to sign all of them. If you send the letter via email, do not delete the message—keep the proof that your message was sent to the person responsible for handling harassment issues. 

Who to Report the Incident to?

If you decide to report the harassment, there is a number of people you can go to. The first option can be your line manager, but if they are someone you do not trust, report the harassment to the Human Resources department, or a union representative. 

In case you can’t address the problem to any of these people, or you prefer to report the issue to someone outside your organization, there are other organizations that can help you, and you will find some of them in the text below.

Workplace Harassment Laws 

Whether you are the victim of harassment or your colleague is, you have the right to ask for the harasser to be punished. Feel free to take action because the law is on your side. 

In the table below, you will find federal laws that address unlawful employment practices and discrimination.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (the EEOC) is responsible for enforcing federal laws and prohibiting workplace discrimination based on the: 

According to the EEOC, it is also prohibited to discriminate against an individual if they complained about discrimination, took part in an employment discrimination lawsuit or investigation, or filed a charge of discrimination.

The laws include all kinds of work situations:

The EEOC aims to protect the rights of individuals, and it has the right to investigate charges of discrimination and file lawsuits.  

How Can DoNotPay Help You With Workplace Harassment?

writing a statement against someone

If you have been subjected to any type of harassment at work, DoNotPay comes to your rescue. We believe that everyone deserves to be treated with dignity in their workplace, and we strive to help you end any kind of aggressive behavior. Below, you will find a step by step guide on how to use our app and send a cease and desist letter to the perpetrator:

A cease and desist letter serves as a warning to a harasser to stop the illegal activity (cease) and not to repeat it (desist). If the perpetrator does not stop with harassment, this letter can serve as evidence that you tried to solve the issue before taking it to the next level.

DoNotPay Protects Your Privacy and Finances

Sharing your credit card details online comes with certain risks, and it’s getting more difficult to tell good and bad websites apart.  With DoNotPay’s  virtual credit card generator , you will be able to protect your identity and bank account from cyber scammers.

Whenever you run into a suspicious email or website, generate a virtual credit card and proceed without worries. Our virtual cards also work like a charm if you want to avoid automatic payments after free trials.

What Else Can DoNotPat Do for You?

writing a statement against someone

DoNotPay will help you resolve any issue you have with your boss or a coworker—but that’s not all! Our app offers a wide range of services that can make your life a lot easier.

To use DoNotPay, create an account and log in your web browser . We can be of assistance if you need to:

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Make Sure Stalkers Stay Far Enough Away

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writing a statement against someone

Filing A Complaint To Start Your Case - Civil Law Self-Help Center

Filing A Complaint To Start Your Case

Learn about the requirements for preparing and filing a civil complaint, including how to prepare a summons, along with some cautions about when filing a complaint could get you into trouble.

Most civil cases are started by one party (the party suing, called the “plaintiff”) filing a “complaint” with the court. A “complaint” is a document that describes what the plaintiff wants (money or some other type of relief) and why she believes she is entitled to that relief. It also identifies the “defendant” (the party being sued).

When the plaintiff files the complaint, she will pay a filing fee to the court. She will also have the court issue a “summons.” A “summons” is a legal document that notifies the defendant that he is being sued. It tells him which court the case is in, the names of the parties to the case, and the names of the plaintiff’s attorney (if there is one).

The summons and complaint must then be “served” (personally delivered by a process server) to the defendant. Below is a sample complaint packet with a shortened version of the information contained below, as well as a sample complaint. Remember that every complaint is different, so this packet is only intended to be a sample. Sample Complaint Packet

Q&A: Summons And Complaint

Is there a difference between filing in the district court and filing in the justice court?

Yes, there is a difference. You will need to determine which court has jurisdiction over your case before you file your complaint. To learn more, click to visit Deciding Where to File .

Is there a complaint “form” I can fill out to start my case?

The Self-Help Center does not have a form complaint for use in the district court or the justice court.

FYI! If you are suing for less than $10,000, the Self-Help Center has forms you can use to file a small claims case in the justice court. Small claims court is quicker and easier and is designed for non-attorneys. To learn more, click to visit Small Claims .

Your complaint is your story. Because every story is different, every complaint is different. So if you intend to represent yourself in a district or justice court civil case, you will need to write your own complaint, which will be specific to your case. Or you can hire an attorney to write a complaint for you. Click to visit Lawyers and Legal Help .

For tips on creating your own court documents, click to visit Basics of Court Forms and Filing and Researching the Law .

Where can I find an example of a complaint to look at?

Your local law library is a terrific place to look for examples of complaints. The librarian should be able to direct you to examples of very simple complaints on various topics. You can use these examples as a starting point when you sit down to write your own complaint.

For example, your law library has a series of books called American Jurisprudence Pleadings and Practice Forms . These books have example complaints on hundreds of topics. Try to find a complaint that involves a situation that is as close to yours as possible.

You also might be able to find examples in other cases filed with the court. Research the court’s on-line records to see if you can find a case against the same type of defendant as yours that involves the same general thing. You might be able to find a complaint that was drafted by an attorney that you could use as a starting point to draft your own. You could get a copy of the complaint from the court clerk for a small copy charge. For information on how to look at the court’s records, click to visit Look Up My Case .

TIP! Read any examples carefully! Sometimes portions of an example don’t apply to your case and should not be included in your complaint. Other times examples don’t have all the claims and information you’ll need to include. Examples are a great place to start. But tailor your complaint to YOUR case!

What must the complaint look like?

Your complaint should generally comply with the court’s rules on how documents must look.

If you are filing in the district court, study Rule 7.20 of the Rules of Practice for the Eighth Judicial District Court. Click to visit District Court Rules .

The justice courts (other than Las Vegas) do not have specific rules regarding how documents should look. If you follow the district court rule, your documents should be acceptable.

For the Las Vegas Justice Court, study Rule 10 of the Local Rules of Practice for the Las Vegas Justice Court. Click to visit Justice Court Rules .

What must the complaint say?

Your complaint must contain a “caption” (or heading) that includes the name of the court and county, the parties to the case (and their designation, like “plaintiff” or “defendant”), the case number (if you have one), and the title of the document. (NRCP 10; JCRCP 10.)

In the body of your complaint, you must at least give fair notice about the nature and basis or grounds of your claim and general notice about the type of case. ( Taylor v. State , 73 Nev. 151, 311 P.2d 733 (1957).) To do this, include at least two things in the body of your complaint:

1. A short and plain statement of your claim showing that you are entitled to relief. (NRCP 8(a); JCRCP 8(a).)

2. A demand for judgment that states the relief you are asking for. (NRCP 8(a); JCRCP 8(a).)

Lastly, you must sign your complaint and state your address, telephone number, and (in the district court and Las Vegas Justice Court) your e-mail address. (NRCP 11; JCRCP 11.)

FYI! If you’re filing in the Las Vegas Justice Court, you must include this statement above your signature on every document you file: “I declare under penalty of perjury under the lass of the State of Nevada that the foregoing is true and correct.” (JCRLV 16.)

Are there circumstances when I might need to include additional information in my complaint?

You may need to include additional information in your complaint if the claim for relief that you are including requires you to plead any of the following:

If you are pleading any of these in your complaint, study Rule 9 of the Nevada Rules of Civil Procedure or the Justice Court Rules of Civil Procedure. Click to visit District Court Rules or Justice Court Rules .

Do I need to attach exhibits to my complaint?

You are not required to attach exhibits to your complaint. You can, though, if you think it will help your case in some way. Anything you attach to your complaint becomes part of your complaint. (NRCP 10(c); JCRCP 10(c).)

Who should I name as a defendant in my complaint?

There are many factors that go into deciding who to name as a defendant in your case. For more guidance on this topic, click to visit Deciding Who to Sue .

Where should I file my complaint?

Figuring out which court to file in is crucial to your case. If you file in the wrong court, your case could be dismissed. To learn more, click to visit Deciding Where to File .

How much will the filing fee be to file my complaint?

When you file your complaint, the court clerk will charge you a filing fee. Filing fees can vary depending on the type of case you are filing and the amount of money you are suing for. To learn more, click to visit Filing Fees and Waivers .

Is there a chance that filing a complaint could get me in trouble?

Yes. When you sign a complaint (or any other court document), you are certifying to the court that you have conducted an inquiry into the facts and the law and that:

If you file a complaint without any legal or factual support or for some improper purpose, the court can “sanction” you. That means the court could require you to pay money to the other side or to the court. It could also dismiss your case or fashion some other sanction sufficient to deter you from repeating your conduct. (NRCP 11(c)(2); JCRCP 11(c)(2).)

In some situations, the defendant you name in your complaint could actually sue you for abusing the legal process and harming them.

Will I need a summons form to submit with my complaint?

Yes. Filing your complaint starts your case, but the summons is the document that is issued under the court’s authority that notifies your defendant they are being sued and that they need to take action.

A Summons form is available for free at the Self-Help Center, or you can download the document on your computer by clicking one of the formats underneath the form’s title below:


JUSTICE COURT SUMMONS   Word Fillable | Pdf Fillable | Pdf Nonfillable

Complete the summons form for the court in which you are filing your case (district court or justice court). Submit it to the court clerk at the same time you submit your complaint.

The summons is not valid unless it has been signed by the court clerk.

For additional tips and instructions, click to visit Basics of Court Forms and Filing .

Do I need to file a Civil Cover Sheet with my complaint?

Yes.  A Civil Cover Sheet is a simple form the plaintiff must submit at the start of a court case. The form identifies the type of case and the parties.

To download a Civil Cover Sheet, click one of the formats underneath the form's title below:



After I file my summons and complaint, what must I do?

After you file your case and have the summons issued by the court clerk, you must “serve” (deliver) a copy of the summons and complaint to each of the defendants you named in your case. There are very specific requirements for service. To learn more, click to visit Serving Your Complaint.

What if I need to change my complaint after I file it?

You can change your complaint after you have filed it by “amending” it. How you go about amending your complaint depends on whether the defendant has filed anything with the court.

Use the complaint you already prepared as a starting point. Change whatever you want to change. And change the title to “First Amended Complaint.”

File your new amended complaint with the court clerk. There will not be an additional filing fee.

Make arrangements to have your new amended complaint “served” (delivered) to the defendant. Click to visit Serving Your Complaint.

Prepare your amended complaint as discussed above.

Fill out the generic motion form below and title it “Motion to Amend Complaint.”


JUSTICE COURT MOTION (GENERIC)   Pdf Fillable | Pdf Nonfillable  

Attach a copy of your proposed amended complaint to your motion to amend. (EDCR 2.30; JCRLV 10.5.) The proposed amended complaint that you attach must be complete, include any exhibits, and be ready to file.

File your motion (and attached amended complaint) with the court clerk. The clerk will set the case for a hearing date.

Mail a copy of your motion to all defendants who have filed in the case.

Attend your hearing. If the judge grants your motion, the judge might order the clerk to remove and file the proposed amended complaint you already submitted. If not, you will need to file your amended complaint with the court.

At the hearing, the judge might also instruct you to prepare an order for the judge’s signature. Use the generic order form below. Prepare it and submit it to the judge for signature.

DISTRICT COURT ORDER (GENERIC)   Word Fillable | Pdf Fillable | Pdf Nonfillable  

JUSTICE COURT ORDER (GENERIC)   Word Fillable | Pdf Fillable | Pdf Nonfillable

Once the judge signs your order, file it with the court clerk (if not filed already).

Prepare the Notice of Entry of Order below. Attach the signed Order you received from the judge to the Notice of Entry of Order you prepared. File the Notice of Entry of Order (including the attached Order) with the court clerk. Mail a copy of the Notice of Entry of Order (including the attached Order) to all other parties in the case.



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This website was designed and is maintained by Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada, Inc., a private, nonprofit, 501(c) (3) organization that operates the Civil Law Self-Help Center through a contract with Clark County, Nevada. This website is intended to provide general information, forms, and resources for people who are representing themselves in a Clark County court without a lawyer. The information on this website is NOT a substitute for legal advice. Talk with a lawyer licensed in Nevada to get legal advice on your situation.

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How do i stop false accusations against me.

writing a statement against someone


False accusations are nothing new. People have probably been falsely accusing each other of vile and awful deeds for centuries. Defamation laws remain a person's best defense against false accusations. But the issue has become increasingly worrisome as the world adjusts to the common use of the internet to communicate.

What Is Defamation?

Defamation means making a false statement about another person that damages her reputation. Business entities can also be defamed. Defamation is a crime in some states, but is more commonly used as a cause of action in a civil action for damages. It is also called libel and slander.

False statements are at the core of a defamation charge. Some false statements are communicated in writing, like false accusations made in a newspaper article. These are termed libel.

False statements that are heard rather than read are called slander. These include communications passed from one person to another or false statements made in a radio broadcast.

What Are the Elements of Defamation?

The person that brings a defamation action is called the plaintiff, while the person or entity being sued is called the defendant. Before the plaintiff files her action, it's important for her to understand the elements that must be proved in order to win the case.

Generally, a plaintiff has to prove four elements in a defamation case:

Falsity of Statement Is Critical

In order to collect damages in a defamation case, the plaintiff has to prove that the defendant made a false statement that he either knew was false or should have known was false. What if someone publishes a statement of vile things a person did when she was young that were not generally known? This will not support a defamation charge since truth is an absolute defense.

Note that the false statement must clearly and specifically identify the plaintiff as the subject of the accusations. If the statement is vague and general, such as: "Politicians in this state are taking money from the oil lobby," the court will not construe it as targeting the plaintiff.

Public Figure Exception

The more famous a person is, the harder it is for him to sue for defamation. Many defamation laws have a public figure exception that applies to celebrities, politicians and other prominent people. In order to win a defamation claim, a public figure has to show that the person publishing the false statement acted with actual malice. This means actual knowledge of the falsity of the statement made or reckless disregard as to whether it is true or false.

Defamatory Internet Content

For all of the benefits society has reaped from the internet, it is also a fertile breeding ground for defamatory statements. People may libel others in their own blogs, in comments on other's blog posting, in social media sites or in chat rooms. Some websites say that they screen posts for illegal content, but they cannot examine every single post and evaluate it for defamatory content, so many defamatory postings end up online.

Complexity of Bringing an Internet Defamation Case

While someone who posts false statements on the internet about another person may be committing libel, it is far more complicated than other types of defamation cases. The plaintiff must figure out whom to sue and what is the appropriate court.

A plaintiff cannot sue website hosts and Internet Service Providers since the Communications Decency Act exempts them from most defamation claims. And it may be difficult to find the real identity of the person making those false allegations. In addition, the suit can only be brought in a state where the poster has significant contacts. The best idea is to contact an attorney with experience in internet defamation suits. Read More: Two Types of Defamation

Teo Spengler earned a J.D. from U.C. Berkeley's Boalt Hall. As an Assistant Attorney General in Juneau, she practiced before the Alaska Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court before opening a plaintiff's personal injury practice in San Francisco. She holds both an M.A. and an M.F.A in creative writing and enjoys writing legal blogs and articles. Her work has appeared in numerous online publications including USA Today, Legal Zoom, eHow Business, Livestrong, SF Gate, Go Banking Rates, Arizona Central, Houston Chronicle, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pearson,,, and numerous attorney websites. Spengler splits her time between the French Basque Country and Northern California.

Related Articles

Formplus Blog

So you’ve been offended at work or by a bad product/services, part of you wants to blow hot, really hot, but what will that accomplish? Rather than raise dust which will eventually settle, how about you file a letter of complaint about it for a productive outcome. 

This type of letter written to address any type of wrong-doing, offense, grievance, resentment arising out of a product, service, etc. It is used to raise your concern about unfair things and seek redress.

If you’re unfamiliar with how a complaint letter should look, visit formplus and take a look at any complaint letter sample that suits your purpose. Each type of complaint has its own complaint letter format.

Tips for Writing an Effective Complaint Letter 

Manners really matter. Your recipients are more likely to give attention to cordial letters. On the other hand, letters containing threats and ALL UPPERCASE are responded to with the bare minimum. Or not at all. 

If your Letter contains any kind of profanity, it is likely to be ignored, and some that may be considered threatening are handed over to law enforcement. The most effective e-mails and letters are very short averaging about 500 words tops. They include all the details necessary to track your problem.

Your request should be in the form of a question. The question should tow the lines of “How do you fix this?”. State exactly what you want to be done and how long you’re willing to wait for a response. Another key phrase format is “I wish to complain in the strongest terms about”. The question should be clear and easy to understand. It also helps if it’s genuine and void of sarcasm. 

You should indicate your reasons for writing the letter. Highlight the facts which include the time, date and where you purchased or received the services. The reader should be able to get the point on reading the first few sentences hence it is important not to beat about the bush. Explain yourself well and be detailed to capture the reader’s attention.

While writing your letter, it is important that you remain courteous at all times. No matter how justified your complaint may be, do not allow your letter to become angry, sarcastic, or threatening. Bear in mind that the person that reads your letter will often not be the person responsible for the problem.

The best chance your complaint gets a fair shake is if you can convince the company that it didn’t follow its own rules or broke the law. If your complaint letter fails to bring about the results that you hoped for, consider writing another letter with a firmer tone, or try writing to someone higher up in the chain of command.

Types of Complaint Letter 

This is a letter that you use to communicate your concerns and voice your issues to the authorities. A formal complaint is backed by a legal document that sets out the facts and legal reasons that you believe are sufficient to support your claims against a party that entitles you to a remedy for the damages caused. 

A formal letter of complaint is one of the best ways to complain about something such as a product or service so that necessary action is taken on it

This kind of letter is written by a consumer to a manufacturer or retailer regarding a problem with a product or service. The aggrieved customer writes a product consumer complaint letter to the concerned authority in an organization to inform them about the poor performance of a product or to complain about the delivery of the defective/damaged goods. 

In drafting such a letter, it is advisable to make it brief and to the point and state exactly what you want to be done about the problem and how long you are committed to waiting to get it resolved.

You could follow these easy steps:

For starters, the Employee complaint letter can be written by two people: the employer and the employee. As an employee, if you want to make a formal complaint about something which has happened at work, you should raise a grievance.

A few tips you could use when drafting an Employee complaint letter include:

How to Write a Complaint Letter (Etiquette & Sample)

Step 1: Start off with a greeting

When writing a complaint letter, it is important that it is addressed to the relevant authority. The letter of complaint is channeled to the customer care department or Human Resource person, whichever is the case. This is because the main function of customer care/ HR support is to deal with whatever issues the customers may have. If you have a contact person, you can start the letter with an address like Dear Sir/Ma/ Ma’am/ or Dear Mr/Miss/Ms./Mrs .

Step 2: Explain what you’re complaining about

Give details about the reason for your complaint. You want to be as straightforward as possible in this step because not everyone has time to go through the details of a super long letter. So start with something like; I’m writing to complain about the poorly packaged delivery I got from your logistics chain on the 18th of October 202X

Step 3: If you’ve taken any prior steps, here’s the time to share that

You may have visited the store, called, or sent a prior email before writing this complaint letter. After explaining the reason for your complaint, succinctly explain what steps you took in rectifying the situation and how it still didn’t resolve your issues with the product/service. As you follow up on a conversation, be sure to say who you spoke with and confirm the details of your discussion.

Step 4: Attach c opies of relevant supporting documents

Attach copies of the necessary and relevant documents. This may include receipts, warranties, cheques, pictures, videos if there are any. This is important as it makes your complaint legit. Ensure to include in your letter the exact documents you are attaching. Just ensure that you only send a copy of the files so it doesn’t get lost and that you still have the originals for further reference.

Step 5: How and when do you want this issue resolved?

If you can convince the company that it didn’t follow its own rules or broke the law, your complaint has a better chance of getting looked into. Express what action you want to be taken in relation to the complaint that you have made. Would you prefer to receive a discount, a refund, a repair or a replacement? It is important to state the time in which you want your issue resolved. This will help your issue be solved in the soonest time possible. The period you are providing should be realistic to avoid an unreasonable clash between you and the company.

Step 6: Sign off with your name and contact information

Included in the complaint letter should be your contact information to enable those receiving your complaints to reach out to you towards resolving the issue. Also, do well to conclude your letter in a respectful manner. Like your typical formal letter, finish your letter by closing with yours faithfully.

Tired of getting complaint letters?  Sign Up on Formplus to create an online complaint form . Embed it on your website to get customers complaints seamlessly

5 Complaint Letter Sample for Everyday Use

 complaint letter sample for poor service .

To write a complaint against poor service, you should start by contacting the company against which you have a complaint. Mail the manager to report bad customer service you have received from an employee. If you are dealing with a large company and the direct mail of the manager is not available immediately, you can always mail the HR.

The Manager (Job designation…)

Company/Organization name…

Sub: Complaint Letter for Poor Services

Dear (name),

I regret to state that I’ve had a gym membership card for about five years now (More/less) but unfortunately I found great trouble with the new instructor the day before yesterday (Date: dd/mm/yy). I usually have private paid sessions with the instructor from 7 am to 8 am. For whatever reason, he was having a session with another group during my time (Write your actual problem and situation)

Sir, I wasn’t able to have my session and had to go home to meet other pressing engagements. The new instructor didn’t even offer as much as an apology for his conduct.

I believe it is in your best interest to please take strict action regarding the above-mentioned matter.

With thanks,

Contact no. and signature…

Complaint Letter Sample for Bad Product 

Say you have used a product and you suspect it did you a disservice and/or the product was damaged or bad, and you seek redress. To help move the issue along, and resolve it in good faith, one often must compose a complaint letter. Here’s a sample to get your grievances sorted in record time.

Peter Burke

5 Allen Avenue,

Maryland, CA 34555

October 7, 2019

Keri Hilson

Mansard Manufacturing

14 Bing Street.

Re: Purchase of spoiled goods

Dear Miss Hilson:

This letter is to bring to your notice concerning the purchase of spoiled goods on October 5, 2019.

At the point of purchase, I was assured the goods would be fresh upon arrival. Instead, they were delivered spoiled. I have attached a photo as well as the delivery receipt.

I would love for you to look into this matter, and either refund my purchase or send out another supply.

Thank you for attending to the above matter. Do feel free to contact me at any time: 555-6868; [email protected]

Enclosures: Photo and receipt

Complaint Letter Sample for Harassment

No one is required to tolerate harassment in the workplace and if it happens, a complaint letter to a supervisor or human resources person will be in order. A reminder that a harassment complaint letter is only written by an individual who is harassed due to a circumstance, incident, or unacceptable behavior from another individual. This sample provides the bare minimum as you seek justice.

Name of Victim 

Address of Victim 

Phone Number of Victim 

Name of Recipient 

Designation of Recipient 

Name of Organization 

Address of Organization 

Dear Name of Recipient: 

I write this letter to inform you about the inappropriate groping and sexual advances I’ve suffered at the hands of the Name of the Harasser. I hold the position of POSITION in the company and have been employed for five years, and my work ethic has never been called into question. 

The harassment began on DATE when I was first transferred to this department and he said he was attracted to me. It has continued almost every day since. 

On DATE he sent me an email that said I should meet up with him after work. 

On DATE he sent a voicemail that said he would love to make sweet love to me in the bathroom stall. 

I reported to my immediate supervisor about the situation after the second incident but the Name of Harasser has not stopped. While most of the advances have been verbal, I have the recordings of two voicemails and one email from the Name of the Harasser. I also have two witnesses, Name of Witness one and Name of Witness two, who have witnessed the harassment. 

I want to bring to your notice that I am undergoing emotional trauma and embarrassment at work. The harassment is affecting my relationship with my Husband and is affecting my performance at work.

I implore that you please take up the matter and take any necessary action. 

Yours Sincerely, 

Signature of Victim 

Employee Complaint Letter Sample to HR 

Rotten behavior among employees can cause irreparable damage to a company in the long run. The best way to stop such dirty behavior that would otherwise rotten a company is to write an HR complaint letter. Is your boss threatening your job if you don’t “see things his way?” Is a coworker sabotaging you or worse? Write to HR. Here’s a sample to set you on your way.

My name is [name] and I have been working as [a secretary] for the past [3 years]. I am proud and happy to do my bit by offering assistance to my senior colleague. Sadly, this wonderful experience is being ruined because of a single employee: [employee name].

I’ve explored all other options prior to writing this letter and I find myself forced to resort to the human resources department for a resolution.

His/Her] continuous misbehavior and lack of conduct are just too much to cope with. It’s affecting my performance and hindering me from doing my work. [Give examples here. What, when, and where it happened? Support your case with numbers, dates and facts.]

I ask for your immediate intervention to find a solution to this problem and to establish a professional, friendly, and productive environment for all of us.

Thank you very much for your understanding.

Best Regards

Complaint Letter Sample to Management

It is frustrating when your manager seems to have a “thing” on you that you can’t explain. When writing a letter complaining about said manager’s behavior, you need to ensure that you have your name, address, the name of the manager and the account of events laid out. Especially since you addressing it to the upper echelon of the organization. This sample covers all the areas required.

Manager Operations,

Company/Institute name…

Address/Branch Address…

Sub: Complaint Letter against Manager

Respected sir,

I hope this letter meets you well. Sir, I work in your company in the research department (Department name) for the past 2/4/6 (More/less) years. The subject of my letter is actually a complaint about our department manager. (Describe your problems and situation). 

I write on behalf of the entire department. We face a number of challenges as his behavior to us is very rude and uncouth. We can’t concentrate on doing our work with his presence. He treats us like slaves in his opinion are worthless. Kindly just change our manager or at least give him a stern warning. The staff of the department will be very grateful if this is done.

Sincerely Yours,

Job Designation…

Department Name…

4 Online Complaint Form Template to Use

This workplace harassment form template can be used by an organization to allow employees and customers to report sexual, bullying, and disrespectful incidents in the workplace.  It can easily be embedded in the company handbook or website. This employee harassment form template is great for HR personnel, employers, and company managers. It is important because Workplace harassment, whether it happens in person or online, is an issue impacting businesses.

The online complaint form template is used to receive customer complaints or employee feedback about your business or services. You can customize the ready-made form to suit your brand and embed the link on your website, social media pages or simply let customers scan QR code to give you the needed feedback. You can use this complaint form in any type of business.

With the Customer Satisfaction Survey Template, you can measure customer satisfaction when you find out what they really think about your product or service. Understanding how your customers feel about your products helps you know what areas you’re are doing well as well as those you need to improve on. You can customize this customer satisfaction template or create your own with our intuitive drag and drop online form builder.

The Hotel Feedback Form Template helps you to improve the standards of your hotel or guest houses by allowing customers to provide feedback about your hotel service. You can embed this hotel feedback form on your hotel booking site or send it to your customers’ email after they check out. With it, guests share freely their opinions, reviews & experience.

Complaint Letters are used to raise your concerns about unfair things and seek a productive outcome. While writing one, remember to use the correct tone to write a complaint letter and avoid being emotional in your letter.

In business, the purpose of a complaint letter in business is to get rectification and replacement and not finding fault. The recipient of a complaint letter should be willing to attend to genuine complaints with an open mind. The best bet for the recipient is not to react immediately either orally or in writing, but to actually make an inquest. 


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Libel, Slander, and Defamation Law: The Basics

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By Steven J. Ellison, Esq. | Legally reviewed by Laura Temme, Esq. | Last updated July 14, 2022

Historically, there was much less protection for speech than we enjoy today, including for the press and publishers. Examples of suppression, fines, and more severe punishment for making false or derogatory statements litter the history books. The earliest ancestors of our modern defamation laws come from English courts ( common law ) beginning in the early 1500s.

At this time, the law governing slander focused on demeaning oral statements. By the 1500s, English courts treated slander actions like other  civil tort claims for damages . Libel developed differently, however. During Elizabethan times, English printers were required to be licensed by the government because they believed the printed word to be a significant threat to political stability. Libel included any criticism of the English government, and a person who committed libel committed a crime.

Zenger's Case

When English colonists arrived in North America, they brought their government's legal traditions. One of the more famous and influential defamation cases in early American history is  Zenger's Case (1735) .

John Zenger published a weekly newspaper criticizing the royally appointed governor of New York. The governor had Zenger arrested and tried for seditious libel. After a considerable uproar, a jury acquitted Zenger of the charge. Many legal historians cite  Zenger's Case  as establishing the American legal principle that truth is a defense against a charge of libel and slander. Before  Zenger's Case , the truth was considered irrelevant.

Zenger's Case  was remembered for years to come. Combined with the colonists' other experiences with British royal governors, freedom of speech and freedom of the press became a major political concern leading up to the American Revolutionary War. Both of these freedoms, of course, were included in the  Bill of Rights  at the beginning of the republic.

The Sedition Act

The development of defamation law continued after the founding of the United States. During John Adams' presidency, Congress passed the  Sedition Act of 1798 . This law made it a crime to criticize the government. Several Democratic-Republican politicians were convicted of sedition before the act expired. Congress and the courts eventually abandoned this approach, and the law of libel now focuses on recovering damages through civil lawsuits.

Modern Libel Laws: New York Times Co. v. Sullivan

Beginning with the landmark decision in  New York Times Co. v. Sullivan (1964) , the U.S. Supreme Court recognized that the law of defamation has a constitutional dimension. Under this case and subsequent cases, the Court has balanced individual interests in reputation with the interests of free speech in society. This approach has altered the rules governing libel and slander, especially where printed speech is about a public official or figure or where the communication is about a matter of public interest.

Elements of a Defamation Lawsuit

State defamation laws vary, but some accepted standards exist no matter where you are or who you are suing. Generally, to win a defamation lawsuit, you must prove that:

These terms and details are further defined below:

The Statement  - A "statement" needs to be spoken (slander), written (libel), or otherwise expressed in some manner. Many consider slander less harmful than libel because the spoken word often fades more quickly from memory. These statements are especially damaging (the legal term for which is defamation per se) if they involve a public or private individual and sexual misconduct or the abuse of minors.

Publication  - For a statement to be published, a third party (someone other than the person making the statement or the subject of the statement) must have seen, heard, or read the defamatory statement. Unlike the traditional meaning of the word "published," a defamatory statement does not need to be printed. Rather, a statement heard over the television or seen scrawled on someone's door is considered to be published.

Injury  - To succeed in a defamation lawsuit, the plaintiff must show the statement to have  caused injury  to the subject of the statement. This means that the statement must have hurt the reputation of the subject of the statement. For example, a statement has caused injury if the subject of the statement lost work due to the statement.

Falsity  - Defamation law will only consider statements defamatory if they are, in fact, false. A  true statement is not considered defamation  in many states. In some states, truth is a defense (see below).

Unprivileged  - You cannot sue for defamation based on statements considered "privileged." For example, when a witness testifies at trial and makes a false and injurious statement, the witness will be immune to a lawsuit for defamation because the act of testifying at trial is privileged. In some states, privilege is a defense to a defamation claim (more on that below).

Defenses to Defamation

Truth  – To be defamatory, a statement must be false. Truth is an absolute defense to a defamation claim.

Opinion  – Only statements of fact can be defamatory. Statements of opinion are not. For example, saying that Kevin stole money from the collection basket on two occasions is a statement of fact. Saying that Kevin is a "thief" is an opinion. The line between fact and opinion is often blurry and can depend on the circumstances.

AbsolutePrivilege  – Statements made in certain contexts are subject to an "absolute privilege, " a complete defense to defamation. In other words, in some situations, you can lie. Examples include statements made by legislators on the floor of the legislature and statements made between spouses.

QualifiedPrivileges  – Some statements are subject to a "qualified privilege," which recognizes that you may have some right to make a false statement in some cases. For example, published reviews containing fair criticism of books or films are subject to a qualified privilege, as are statements made to warn others about potential danger.

Retraction  – A retraction is a public and formal withdrawal of a previously made false statement. Although you can still sue the speaker for defamation, the retraction lessens the harm done by the false statement and reduces the amount you can recover.

If you prove your cause of action for defamation, you may be entitled to recover your actual damages. The amount typically depends on the harm to a person's reputation. Special damages are the amount you can calculate with precision. Let's say you lost a job because of a false statement of fact. In that case, you may be able to recover lost wages, lost future earning capacity, and other lost economic opportunities.

Depending on the statement, you may be able to recover money for amounts that you cannot calculate with precision. These are called non-economic damages. One common example would be damages for pain and suffering.

In cases where the speaker acted outrageously, you may be able to recover punitive damages, which punish the speaker for particularly bad behavior.

Social Media and Defamation Law

Social media  makes it easier than ever to make a defamatory statement because social media services like Twitter and Facebook allow you to instantly "publish" a statement that can reach millions of people. Whether it's a disparaging blog post, Facebook status update, or YouTube video, online defamation is treated the same way as more traditional forms. You can be sued for any defamatory statements you post online.

Higher Burdens for Defamation: Public Officials and Figures

Our government places a high priority on the public being allowed to speak their minds about elected officials and other public figures. People in the public eye get  less protection from defamatory statements  and face a higher burden when attempting to win a defamation lawsuit.

The Supreme Court ruled that freedom of speech limits a public official's ability to sue someone for defamation. When someone criticizes an official in a false and damaging way for something relating to their behavior in office, the official must   prove the statement was made with "actual malice"  and  all the other defamation elements.

The U.S. Supreme Court defined "actual malice" in  Hustler v. Falwell  (1988).  In that case, the Court held that the  First Amendment  of the  United States Constitution  protected certain statements that would otherwise be defamatory.

This meant that public officials could only win a defamation suit when the statement was published with the actual intent to harm the public figure. Actual malice only occurs when the person making the statement knows it is not true or has a reckless disregard for whether it is true.

Other people in the public eye, such as celebrities, must also prove actual malice to succeed in a defamation claim.

Questions About Defamation Law? Get Legal Help Today

If you have been accused of defamation or someone has defamed you, you'll want to know more about the law and your rights. An experienced lawyer or a law firm can give you legal advice about the specifics of your situation and the law in your jurisdiction to determine the strength of your claim.

Contact a  local defamation attorney  to learn more about how they can help. You have a limited amount of time under state law to bring a defamation claim, depending on the state's statute of limitations, so make sure you do not delay.

Learn more on our state-specific  defamation law legal answers  page.

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How to Respond to False Accusations

Last Updated: January 13, 2023 References

This article was co-authored by Hyungbum Kang, MA, MSW, LCSW, MAC . Hyungbum Kang is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker based in Honolulu, Hawaii. With over a decade of experience, Hyungbum specializes in using an integrated therapeutic approach to treat ADHD, Anger Management, Depression, and other mental health and social work struggles. He received a Bachelor’s degree in English and Master’s degrees in Sociology and Social Work. Hyungbum earned an MBA from Hawaii Pacific University (HPU) and is working on his Doctor of Psychology from HPU. He is a member of the American Psychological Association, the International Honor Society in Psychology, the National Association of Social Workers, and the California Consortium of Addiction Programs and Professionals. There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 510,635 times.

Rumors, smears, and unjust characterizations can happen online, in the workplace, and in the courtroom. Some false stories die, and some spread. Whether you're falsely accused to your face, behind your back, in the court, or in print, it is vital to stay calm and know your rights. With patience, and the support of those you trust, you can work toward recovering your reputation and self-confidence.

Responding to Rumors

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Responding to an HR Investigation

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Responding to Published Accusations

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About This Article

Hyungbum Kang, MA, MSW, LCSW, MAC

To respond to a false accusation, try your best to remain calm so you can address the situation rationally, even though it may be hard. When you're ready, talk to your accuser or the people spreading rumors about you and state the truth as concisely and calmly as you can. Then, give them a chance to explain where the accusation is coming from, and see if you can clear up any misunderstandings. If they won't listen, you may be better off ignoring the accusation and moving on with your life. If the accusation is having a significant impact on your well-being, consider consulting with an attorney about a possible defamation case. To learn how to respond to an HR investigation, scroll down! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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Giving a statement to the police

A statement is a written or in certain circumstances a video-recorded account of what happened. A statement can be used as evidence in court. Before making any statement, the officer will ask questions to find out exactly what happened.

Contacting the police to make a statement

When police are investigating a crime, they will record statements made by witnesses. If you're aware of a crime and want to make a statement, you can contact police:

To find police station opening hours, go to:

Information needed in your statement

When making a statement you should tell the police as much information about the offence as you can. This includes:

Giving a written statement

If you give a written statement, the police will normally ask to come to your home or ask you to visit the police station.

The police realise that talking about what you have witnessed can be a difficult experience. If you find making your statement distressing, you can ask for a break at any time.

Once the statement has been written, the police officer will ask you to read it to check it's accurate. You can ask the police officer to read your statement to you.

You will be asked to sign the statement to say that it is an accurate account of what you think happened. If something is not right, tell the police officer so that they can change it. It is very important to do this, even if you feel nervous about doing it, as it could affect the investigation.

Sometimes the police may need to speak to you more than once, for example, if they need to check information.

Giving a video recorded statement

In some cases, if the police believe you to be ‘vulnerable’ or ‘intimidated’ as defined by law, you can make a video recorded statement instead of a written statement.

Video recording is mostly used if you are under the age of 17 (soon to be 18) or are the victim in a sensitive case, for example a sex crime. You will usually be asked to go to a specially equipped video suite, which is situated in certain police stations. In some cases the police may bring recording equipment to your home or other venue that you have agreed.

The police officer who is carrying out the interview will explain how it’s done before the recording begins. If you are a young person making a video recorded statement, a supporter will be with you during the interview.

The police officer will not discuss the evidence that you are going to give before the interview is recorded. This is to make sure that you give the most accurate description of what you saw or know.

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If you have a question about a government service or policy, you should contact the relevant government organisation directly .  We don't have access to information about you.

How to Word a Grievance for a Hostile Workplace & Hostile Verbal Threats

How to Deal With Insults at Work

How to write a letter to your boss in regard to a co-worker giving you problems, how to document an employee argument.

Verbal threats and hostility can turn an otherwise productive workplace into a toxic environment. When hostile behavior persists, despite verbal efforts to stop it, a written grievance may prove helpful. Careful, intentional wording of a grievance can make all the difference as to how effectively management responds. If this problem is happening to you, write down verbatim what was said to threaten or disrespect you -- even if the words are offensive. Explain in explicit detail the hostility you have been dealing with while also trying to do your job. Follow the proper procedures when writing and submitting your grievance.

Consult the Rules and Policies

Start by reviewing your company’s policies related to harassment, bullying, discrimination and workplace climate. If you are in a labor union, read your contractual bargaining agreement. Determine if the incidents you are experiencing fall under the definitions of a hostile environment. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission states that a hostile environment includes crude jokes, name calling, insults, ridicule, verbal threats, physical assault and objectionable images that disrupt the workplace, for instance. Knowing the rules and definitions of offensive conduct will help you word your grievance correctly when claiming you have been subjected to a hostile environment.

Initiate a Grievance

Follow a standard business memo format when writing your grievance. Address it to the person or office designated to investigate and resolve grievances at your company or organization. Include your name, as well as the date and subject of the memo.

TO: Jill Jones, Human Resources Director FROM: Jane Doe DATE: [Insert date of letter] SUBJECT: Formal Grievance

Describe the Offensive Conduct

Your grievance will be credible and compelling if the words you use to describe the behavior make it clear that the treatment you are receiving is unfair, unacceptable and against company policy. In some situations, the actions may even be illegal if you are targeted because of your age, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion or affiliation with another protected group. When wording your grievance, be specific about what’s going on. It's not fair or sufficient to call someone a bully or state that you are being harassed, without offering evidence.

I have been a loyal employee of this company for 30 years. My previous supervisors gave me stellar performance reviews. My new boss, John Doe, has subjected me to ongoing harassment by repeatedly calling me grandma, asking me when I plan to retire, telling people that I have one foot in the grave, and, if I don't quit, threatening to fire me. I have witnesses to these events.

For the most part, I really enjoy my new job selling auto parts. However, my co-worker, John Doe, makes jokes about my appearance on a daily basis. Since I started three weeks ago, he has called me insulting names, such as airhead, blondie and tubby. Today, I saw him put something on my chair when I went to the copier. It was a magazine photo of a whale. I spoke to my immediate supervisor about this, and all he did was laugh.

Explain Adverse Effects

A single, isolated minor incident does not meet the threshold of a hostile environment. The behavior must be severe or pervasive. For instance, a verbal threat intended to hurt you or displaying a weapon during a heated argument constitutes severe behavior. Such action by itself would disturb a reasonable person and would cause fear at work. Pervasive behavior is persistent mistreatment that can affect self-esteem, concentration and overall job performance. When wording your grievance, describe how you are being affected by a hostile environment to get your point across.

After my supervisor told me to ignore the behavior, I tried to avoid the harasser, but that’s nearly impossible. He emails me incessantly, asking for dates. I have repeatedly asked him not to contact me, but he doesn’t listen. I have seen him drive past my house. I am jumpy at work and can’t focus because he walks past my desk, and leers at me.

Identify the Desired Outcome

Put into words that you want the unwelcome behavior to stop immediately. Share other thoughts as to what you would like to see happen. If your grievance is substantiated, state that you want an investigation with corrective action. You may want to ask for a transfer to a different office, either temporarily or permanently. Conclude by expressing confidence that you believe your grievance will soon be resolved.

I am submitting this grievance because I want the harassment to stop. I trust that you will investigate this promptly. Pending the outcome of the grievance, I would like to be reassigned, because I fear retaliation in this matter. Thank you in advance for looking into this report of a hostile environment. I will make myself available for an interview, at your convenience.

Mary Dowd holds a doctorate in educational leadership and a master’s in counseling and student affairs from Minnesota State Mankato. Helping students succeed has been her passion while serving in many areas of student affairs and adjunct teaching. Currently she is a dean of students at a large, public university. Dr. Dpwd’s writing experience includes published research, training materials and hundreds of practical online articles.

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Defamation Law Made Simple

Learn the basics of slander and libel—the rules about who can say what without getting into legal hot water..

"Defamation of character" is a catch-all term for any statement that hurts someone's reputation. Written defamation is called "libel," while spoken defamation is called "slander." Because written statements last longer than spoken statements, most courts and insurance companies consider libel more harmful than slander .

Defamation is not a crime in most states, but it is a " tort " (a civil wrong, rather than a criminal wrong). The person who has been defamed (the " plaintiff ") can sue the person who did the defaming (the " defendant ") for damages .

Defamation law tries to balance competing interests: On the one hand, someone shouldn't be able to ruin your life by telling lies about you; on the other hand, people should be able to speak freely without fear of litigation over every insult, disagreement, or mistake. Political and social debate is important in a free society, and we don't all share the same opinions or beliefs. For example, political opponents often reach opposite conclusions from the same facts, and editorial cartoonists often exaggerate facts to make their point.

How Do You Prove Defamation?

Defamation happens when a person makes a false statement—verbally or in writing—about someone else that damages that person's reputation. Defamation laws vary from state to state, but the basic principles of defamation law are the same in every state.

A plaintiff suing for defamation typically must show all of the following:

Let's take a look at each of these defamation claim elements in detail.

1. Published

In the context of defamation law, "published" doesn't necessarily mean the statement was printed in a book or magazine. A defamatory statement is published when the defendant says or shows the statement to anyone other than the plaintiff. Slanderous statements can be published in a speech, at a town hall meeting, or during cocktail party chatter. Libelous statements can be published in a newspaper, book, email, text message, tweet, or social media post .

Only false statements of fact can be defamatory. Even terribly mean or disparaging statements aren't defamatory if they are true. Most opinions don't count as defamation because they can't be proved to be objectively false. For example, when a book reviewer writes, "This is the worst book I've read all year," she's not defaming the author, she's stating her opinion about the book.

3. Injurious

The statement must be "injurious." Since the purpose of defamation law is to compensate people for damage to their reputations, defamation plaintiffs must show how their reputations were hurt by the false statements. A defamatory statement is injurious if it, for example, gets you fired, causes you to lose customers, causes you to be shunned by your friends, or leads to you being harassed online.

Some categories of false statements—called libel per se or slander per se —are so widely understood to be harmful that they are presumed to be injuries. Examples include statements that falsely claim that someone:

4. Unprivileged

Finally, to qualify as a defamatory statement, the offending statement must be " unprivileged ." If someone makes a false statement about you, but the statement is privileged, you can't sue that person for defamation. Lawmakers decide which types of speech are privileged so that speakers in certain situations aren't limited by worries that they will be sued for defamation. Examples of privileged statements include statements made during judicial proceedings, by high government officials, and by legislators during legislative debates.

Examples of Defamation

Defamation can take many forms. In 2022, an American teenager named Hans Niemann defeated Magnus Carlsen, the world's best chess player, in a tournament with a $350,000 prize. Mr. Carlsen responded by accusing Niemann of cheating.

Nieman then filed a $100 million defamation lawsuit against Carlsen,, and Hikaru Nakamura, another top chess player who amplified the cheating allegations on his popular Twitch channel. Niemann's lawyers wrote in their complaint that Niemann is suing to "recover from the devastating damages that defendants inflicted upon his reputation, career and life by egregiously defaming him."

Carlsen's lawyers moved to dismiss the lawsuit, claiming, among other things, that the allegedly defamatory statements were protected by privilege and that he was voicing his sincerely held opinions, not facts.

The Niemann case is an example of a work-related defamation claim. Other examples of potential defamation include:

Courts look carefully at the context of a potentially defamatory statement as well as its substance to decide whether it's an opinion or a factual statement.

Don't Delay—You Must Comply With the Statute of Limitations

Each state sets a deadline—called the " statute of limitations "—for filing different kinds of civil lawsuits. Most states allow plaintiffs somewhere between one to three years from the time the defamatory statement was made to get their defamation lawsuits filed.

If you miss the deadline to file your claim, the court will almost certainly dismiss your case and you'll miss your chance to clear your name and get compensation for your damaged reputation and lost opportunities.

Learn about defamation, libel, and slander statute of limitations .

Should You File a Defamation Lawsuit?

Defamation lawsuits are difficult to prove. A landmark study, called " The Iowa Research Project ," reviewed almost every libel case between 1974 and 1984 and found that about 90% of plaintiffs lost in court, but roughly 90% of the plaintiffs who lost said that the lawsuit "accomplished something."

In other words, if you've suffered financial and social harm because someone is spreading lies about it, it might be worth filing a defamation lawsuit even if you don't end up winning a big money judgment at the end of the case.

Talk to a lawyer so you can get the facts you need to decide whether pursuing a defamation lawsuit is worth the emotional and financial toll it will take on you. A lawyer can answer your questions, help you figure out how much your defamation claim might be worth, and review the pros and cons of going to court.

Public Figures Have More to Prove

The public has a right to criticize the people who govern and influence them, so public figures have less protection from defamation than private individuals. Public figures must show that they were defamed with actual malice . In other words, they must show that the person who defamed them made the false statement knowing it was false, or with reckless disregard for the truth. Public figures include politicians, movie stars, professional athletes, and celebrities.

Private figures only need to show that the person who defamed them acted negligently (carelessly) when making the false statement.

How Much Is a Defamation Case Worth?

No two defamation cases are the same, so it's impossible to put a dollar amount on a typical defamation case. But damages in a defamation case generally include compensation for:

Plaintiffs in some states might also be able to collect punitive damages if the defendant's conduct was outrageously bad. Punitive damages are meant to punish defendants for appalling behavior, rather than compensate plaintiffs for their losses.

In 2022, the actor Johnny Depp sued his ex-wife Amber Heard for defamation after she wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post about domestic violence and referred to herself as "a public figure representing domestic abuse." The jury sided with Depp and awarded him over $10.35 million .

Depp's multimillion-dollar award was based, in part, on high-paying acting roles he claimed to have missed out on because of Heard's defamatory statements.

Not all defamation cases end in blockbuster awards. Some end with verdicts in favor of the defendant. Others end with a jury finding that a statement was defamatory, but declining to award any damages. For example, a father sued his son for defamation during a grandparent custody dispute. The father said the son falsely accused him of physical and sexual abuse to damage his reputation and hurt his business. The jury found that the son's statements were defamatory and untrue, but declined to award any damages. ( Cesare v. Cesare , 2011 WL 2292222 (Pa.Com.Pl. 2011).)

As you can see, defamation awards vary widely. The only way to get an accurate sense of how much your defamation claim might be worth is to talk to a lawyer.

Do I Need to Hire a Defamation Lawyer?

A defamation case isn't like a simple car accident claim that you might be able to handle yourself . They often involve complex legal issues and may require expert witnesses to weigh in on damages. Having a legal expert on your side can make all the difference.

Defamation cases tend to be emotionally charged. A lawyer can offer an objective perspective when things get heated and you need to make rational decisions about how to proceed.

Learn more about hiring a lawyer

Defamation laws protect people from the actual harm that untrue statements can cause, while still allowing people to speak freely about important topics. It's a complicated area of law that changes all the time as technology changes how people communicate.

To get started with your defamation claim:

A lawyer can answer your questions and help you decide if, when, and where to file a lawsuit . When you're ready, you can connect with a lawyer directly from this page for free.

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writing a statement against someone

The Email You Can Send to HR if You Need to Report Someone for Being Offensive

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Picture this. You’re at your desk and you desperately need to speak with HR. In fact, this is a conversation that you’ve intended to have for the past couple of weeks. Long story short, your co-worker’s offensive comments are preventing you from getting your work done and resolving the situation yourself isn’t working or isn’t an option. It is serious enough that you feel it’s to loop in someone from human resources and start documenting what happened.

First things first, I’m sorry you’re in this situation. It’s not fun. But it is, in many cases, fixable. However, as you probably already know, how you approach this can not only be tricky depending on where you work, but also because it’s an uncomfortable situation. You don’t want to be a tattletale and you also don’t want to look like a complainer. However when a situation’s serious and speaking to the offender isn’t working (or isn’t appropriate), you should address it with HR.

And that’s why I’ve outlined the email you need to send to get the conversation started.

1. Begin With a Thank You

Most people respond well to a compliment. So, beginning with an acknowledgment for how busy they are and sharing your gratitude for the person taking the time and consideration to read your email, is a great first step to take.

2. State the Matter You Want to Address

Clarity’s key in life. If you have a problem with a co-worker or an incident that happened at work can you clearly define what your issue is? Calmly breaking down the facts of what happened and showcasing why this is an issue demonstrates the importance of your position.

3. State the Reasoning Behind Your Position

After explaining the situation, make sure you’ve clearly stated the reasoning for how you feel. Ensure that the reader knows how you feel about the situation that transpired, so then he or she knows where you stand.

4. Provide Solutions

Doing this shows that you have taken the time to assess the situation and you’re mindfully seeking a positive resolution to the matter.

5. End With a Thank You

Gratitude can never be underestimated. Taking the time to thank the reader for reviewing the email in totality will show your reader you appreciate their attention to the matter. It helps the reader understand why they need to take action on your concern(s).

writing a statement against someone

Dear Nancy,

Thank you for taking the time to read this email. I know how busy you are and truly appreciate your consideration for this matter.

As you might know, I recently had a disagreement with Jennifer Smith last week and the matter still hasn’t been resolved. This is a situation that needs to be addressed so I can continue my work without any distractions. Last week, Jennifer Smith and I were having lunch in the lounge area. Having lunch was somewhat typical behavior as we have eaten lunch together at least once a month for the past two years.

During the lunch, Jennifer was mentioning that she disagreed with how I handled a client matter. Jennifer said I was behaving very petty and silly. Because of this, she said she personally talked to the client and personally apologized for my behavior. When she said this, I told her that I was completely shocked and taken back by her actions. I went on to tell her that I appreciated her feedback, but it wasn’t necessary for her to call me names and talk to the client behind my back. Jennifer proceeded to call me a “Bitch” and said, “I couldn’t tell her what to do.” At that point, I stopped engaging with her.

Since that incident Jennifer and I have not spoken to each other. It has been very tense and difficult to be near each other. Despite, this unfortunate incident, I would like for things to go back to how they were before the incident occurred. I understand we might not go back to being as friendly as we once were, but it is preferable for us to have a more cordial atmosphere at the workplace. Without anything being done, I fear that it will be difficult for us to focus on our jobs and work product.

Given what has happened, I am confident that you will have great solutions to address the matter. However, I wanted to share my thoughts for this situation. For me to be more comfortable at work, I would like for Jennifer to provide an official written apology and agree to address work related matters in a scheduled meeting with the appropriate Human Resource contact. Additionally, if I have an issue with her, I would raise my concern in the same manner.

Again, I would like to thank you for your time and attention to this matter. It has been a pleasure working with you and I would like to address this matter, so that I can focus on doing my job to the best of my ability. If you would like to have a follow up call or meeting about this matter, I am happy to schedule it at your earliest convenience.

writing a statement against someone

Dealing with tough situations are not enjoyable, but they are a must. The good news is that when you tackle them with strategy and preparation, they become much more manageable.

With that said, you may send this email and not get the response you want. In fact, it could even make matters worse. And because I don’t know your boss or your HR department, I can’t tell you if that’ll happen or not. However, you need to know that if it does, you have options: escalate the situation or look for a new job.

While looking for a new job doesn’t seem fair to you (because it’s not), it’s also important that you work in a place that you’re not only respected, but feel safe.

writing a statement against someone


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  1. How To Write a Complaint Letter About a Coworker

    Follow these steps to write a complaint letter to your boss about someone else you work with: 1. Try to resolve the conflict on your own If you think your conflict with a coworker is something you can resolve together, then consider attempting to write a letter to your boss. You may find that your mutual issues are because of a misunderstanding.

  2. How to Use a Cease and Desist Letter to Stop Slander and Libel

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  3. How to Write a Letter Rebuking Allegations

    The best tack to take when responding to false allegations is to write a serious, unemotional examination of the subjects raised. Repeat an allegation, then explain dispassionately the ways in which it is inaccurate. Then proceed to the next allegations. Keep responses objective, factual and succinct.

  4. Formal complaint letter sample against a person

    Complaint letter against a person To Whom It May Concern, / Dear Mr., Mrs., I have been a faithful employee in this company for the past [##] years. My time at the company has been good one so far, but now a problem has come up, which threatens to disrupt my otherwise peaceful time at the company.

  5. Writing a Complaint Letter for Bad Behavior of Colleague (with Sample)

    Begin the letter by writing something like, "I'm writing this letter to report a conflict I am currently having with employee, Jane Watkins." Continue writing something like, "Because of several incidents that have occurred between her and me, I feel that it is time to make an official complaint. List Each Incident Separately

  6. How to Write a Statement on Coworkers Arguing

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    Communicate that certainly a crime has been committed. Give these events in as detailed a manner as you can. Answer the who, what, when, where and why of the crime itself explaining how this relates to the receiver. Like this: "Many witnesses have come to my defense as it relates to that night.

  9. How to Drop Charges: 9 Steps (with Pictures)

    Call the police station that filed your report to ask for a copy of it. Review the report carefully, paying attention to the section that describes what you told the police. If you notice anything inaccurate in the report, you can change your statement. Do not lie to get charges dropped.

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    Sample # 2. (Date) To the Sentencing Judge, Your Honor, I have known (name) for (years) as (state relationship), and we have shared a close friendship through the years. During the time that I have known (name), I have realized that he / she has been very reliable and trust worthy.

  11. Sample Workplace Harassment Complaint Letter

    You can always try to write a letter to the harasser, and explain to them how their actions are affecting you. If you prefer to make a disclosure to somebody else, write a workplace harassment complaint letter and provide as much information as you can. Writing a harassment letter can take some time if you want to do it properly.

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    Step 4: Attach copies of relevant supporting documents. Attach copies of the necessary and relevant documents. This may include receipts, warranties, cheques, pictures, videos if there are any. This is important as it makes your complaint legit. Ensure to include in your letter the exact documents you are attaching.

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    Rather, a statement heard over the television or seen scrawled on someone's door is considered to be published. Injury - To succeed in a defamation lawsuit, the plaintiff must show the statement to have caused injury to the subject of the statement. This means that the statement must have hurt the reputation of the subject of the statement.

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    Most people respond well to a compliment. So, beginning with an acknowledgment for how busy they are and sharing your gratitude for the person taking the time and consideration to read your email, is a great first step to take. 2. State the Matter You Want to Address Clarity's key in life.