Defamation is hard to win in Texas. See my prior post about a recent defamation case here in San Antonio. This nurse had what should have been good evidence, yet she lost. Employers enjoy a "qualified privilege" in Texas. That means the employee must show actual malice by the employer. Dakota Meyer, a very recent Medal of Honor recipient, has filed suit against his former employer, BAE Systems for defamation. See San Antonio Express News report. He filed his suit here in San Antonio.
According to his suit, BAE defamed him in seeking new employment. The world of defense contractors can be close knit. Verbal discussions about prospective employees do happen. The Express News article describes an employer who appeared to diminish Mr. Meyer’s achievements in Afghanistan. His supervisor referred to his then pending MOH as "pending star status." His supervisor was a former Marine himself. The harassment apparently started soon after Mr. Meyer complained that his employer was sending top flight equipment to the Pakistan armed forces. While, the Marines were using inferior equipment.
"Anti-hero" treatment is not unheard of. The news report reflects some surprise at this. Back when I was attending the Infantry Officers Advance Course at Ft. Benning, I worked for a few days for a Lieutenant-Colonel. I was a captain at the time. The LTC told me about his time at the IOAC in the late 1960’s. In the Infantry world, we have a pecking order of our own. Infantry officers with Ranger tabs, and other "hooah" badges sometimes believe they are at the top of the pyramid. Some of the young officers at the IOAC in the 1960’s looked down a bit at one student officer because he lacked the hooah badges. Then at some function where everyone wears their medals, the officer wore his own MOH. The "hooah" officers then started belittling his achievements, saying his MOH was not as deserving.
There will always be those who minimize even tremendous achievements. But, they should not impair one’s ability to find work. According to the news report, when President Obama called Mr. Meyer to congratulate him for being awarded the MOH, Mr. Meyer asked him to call him on his lunch break. The Medal of Honor winner did not even feel secure enough in his job to allow the President of the United States to call him during work hours.
The truth is some folks just need to be sued.