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Suppose one of your employees informs you that your foreman, call him "Joe," is taking building materials from your site and using them to build a state-of-the-art tree house for his children. Other employees can't substantiate the charge, and when you confront Joe with the allegation, he denies it. Still, it makes you uncomfortable, so you fire him. Several weeks later, you receive a call from a builder you know who is considering hiring Joe. He wants to know why Joe was fired. If your heart isn't racing and your hands aren't sweating, they should be, because you're about to encounter the law of defamation. When asked to provide references for ex-employees, employers are frequently trapped between their desire for the