Slander Law & Legal Definition


Slander is the oral communication of false statements that are harmful to a person's reputation. If the statements are proven to be true, it is a complete defense to a charge of slander. Oral opinions that don't contain statements of fact don't constitute slander. Slander is an act of communication that causes someone to be shamed, ridiculed, held in contempt, lowered in the estimation of the community, or to lose employment status or earnings or otherwise suffer a damaged reputation. Slander is a subcategory of defamation.

The basic elements of a claim of slander include;

  1. a defamatory statement;
  2. published to third parties; and
  3. which the speaker or publisher knew or should have known was false.

Slander is primarily covered under state law, but is subject to First Amendment guarantees of free speech. The scope of constitutional protection extends to statements of opinion on matters of public concern that do not contain or imply a provable factual assertion. If the slander unjustly accused you of a crime or reflected on your profession, the court or jury can assess the damages. For other types of slander you generally must prove some actual damage to be able to recover.

Slander of title is a common law tort involving a disparaging remark regarding ownership of property. It affects the owner's ability to transfer the property, resulting in a monetary loss.