Social networks are often a place to relax, chat with friends and family or have fun in an uncommitted way. And it is precisely because of this freer character that people tend to write with abbreviations, use emojis, use slang, borrow memes and deliberately misspell (or not). Now, imagine if your Portuguese error yielded a process of R$ 2018 thousand?
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That’s exactly what happened to an Australian when using Facebook: he was ordered to pay US$ 180 thousand after being defeated in a lawsuit arising from a grammatical flaw. Anthony Zadravic is a real estate agent in Australia’s New South Wales city who was sued after failing to add an apostrophe to a post critical to his former workplace.
According to New York Times newspaper, Zadravic accused the company and its owner of not paying the retirement fund to “employees”. He would have mentioned the fact that the owner sold homes valued at millions of dollars, but did not use the money to pay off his debts, something the former employee has been waiting for two years.
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The whole speech problem was the absence of the use of the apostrophe in the English word employees
(employees, in Portuguese): without the spelling resource, the realtor’s phrase gained the meaning that the company had not paid the debts of several people and not only his. The apostrophe in the English language gives the idea of belonging, of possession, but its absence before the letter S makes the word a mere common plural.
The millionaire apostrophe
The comment was deleted in less than hours, but it was too late. The former boss took note of the message and filed a defamation action against Zadravic, who justified in court the clear intention to add the visual feature to the sentence, although he did not do so. The judge said that the lack of scores suggested a systemic behavior pattern of the company, which would not be the case: “Failure to pay an employee’s right to retirement is seen as regrettable; to fail to pay some or all of them seems deliberate,” said Magistrate Judith Gibson in the ruling obtained by the NYT. thousand (about R$ 600 thousand), a high figure for most people, but considered normal in Australia, whose anti-defamatory legislation is one of the strictest in the world. The apostrophe case was not the first legal occurrence of its kind: in 2018, a lack of comma was sufficient for the courts give favorable decisions to a group of truck drivers, in a judgment valued at US$ 5 million (or R$ , 5 million in current values).
From now on, be more careful with the posts you make on social networks, especially if it is to criticize a person or a company; after all, you never know if a comma or a typo will turn into a millionaire loss, right?
Source: New York Times
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