Freedom of speech is a basic liberty most people believe gives them the right to say whatever they want, legally. However, this isn't always the case. Freedom of speech is a civil right, but it's fairly easy for the words you speak to fall outside the limits of what is actually protected. This is particularly the case when it comes to making a false claim.
What's A False Claim?
It's one thing to think something about a person that is unfounded, but it is something entirely different to let those words be uttered from your mouth. Consider a missing laptop from work, for example. For one reason or another, you think your coworker Jane stole it. Even though you don't have sufficient evidence to support your claim, you decide to tell everyone in the office that she took it, including your supervisor.
In incidents surrounding false claims, it's not only your words that are damaging, but it's also the consequences that the person you made a false claim against faces. In this particular scenario, this could include termination of employment and possibly criminal charges for the falsely accused.
What's At Risk?
When it is found that your statements were knowingly false, you open the door for a libel or slander suit to be brought against you. The difference between these two suits comes down to how the communication is rendered.
Using the previous example, if you made the false claims about your coworker through email or another written form, you could face a libel suit. If the communication was brought forth through spoken words, you could face a slander suit.
Protecting Your Rights
The laws concerning false claims as they pertain to freedom of speech seem black and white, but there is always a grey area. Even with the previously mentioned scenario, there are a number of factors that can come into play that might make the situation appear as a false claim on the surface, when in reality it was something entirely different.
In these situations, provided the intent is not to harm, people have a legal right to say what they want without being punished for it. If you are facing legal action because of a statement you made, an attorney can help. An attorney, such as one from Law Office of Faye Riva Cohen, P.C., will analyze your statements to determine if your entitlement to free speech and your basic civil rights have been violated.
Civil rights are extended to every citizen. Don't let another person violate yours.Share