Negative Commandment #77b
Sefer Ha’mitzvos Ha’Katzar (The concise book of mitzvos)
By the Chofetz Chaim
This book lists the Torah mitzvos that can be observed today
Second Section – the Negative Commandments
77. - CONTINUED FROM LAST WEEK
There are things spoken about that are considered Avak Lashon Hara, "dust of slander". An example of this is if a person says, "Someone should tell such and such a person he should always be like he is now." Or he says, "Be quiet about him. I do not want to tell you what I know about him." Also one who speaks good things about a person in front of others who dislike him is considered Avak Lashon Hara because this causes ridicule. Also included is one who speaks Lashon Hara in jest or in trickery, like he does not know that what he is saying is Lashon Hara.
The same law applies if one speaks Lashon Hara if the subject is present or not. It is Lashon Hara if he speaks things that cause pain, if it is heard from one person to another, and if it causes damage to another person's body or money, even if it is only distressing or frightening him. It is Lashon Hara even if the slander does not speak these words to the Government officials, causing them to take his money, which is like killing the person and his wife and children who are dependent on him, because he is an informer. Gehinnom (punishment in the next world) will finish and his punishment will not finish. (For more information, look in Sefer Chofetz Chaim and Sefer Shemiras HaLashon, which explain the greatness of the sin of Lashon Hara and its punishment.)
This applies in all places and at all times, for men and for women.