What are my legal rights against a business that falsely accuses me of stealing?

Recently I went into a thrift store to shop. I was stopped by an employee who accused me of stealing last time I was in there. I have never stole before in my life nor would I. I then left the store and then about 2 blocks down the way home, this same guy came to me in a van and accused me of stealing again. I let him look in my bag, he found nothing. What was happening was, they saw me changing from my eyeglasses to my sunglasses. I explained this to him. He was very unremorseful and just took off. I have been trying to get an answer for over a week from different agencies.

Asked on August 21, 2016 under Personal Injury, Michigan


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You have no legal claim or cause of action, unfortunately. A person is allowed to accuse another person, directly to that person (e.g, face to face, or on a phone call) of anything at all, no matter how hurtful or false. If they publicized the accusation--e.g. put it on their website or social media-- that would be different: publicly making an untrue and damaging factual statement can be defamation. But defamation is only when it is publicized to third parties--if only stated to you, it may have been upsetting, but it was legal.

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