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

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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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 6 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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