The prohibition, “Do not accept a false report” (see Day 91), teaches us that loshon hora should not be listened to and must not be accepted. However, when the information being conveyed is important to know for constructive reasons, it merits one’s attention and may be listened to. Just as relating negative information l’toeles, for a constructive purpose, is not considered speaking loshon hora, so too is listening for a constructive purpose considered responsible and proper.
Information that one may listen to includes anything that might help to prevent or correct undue harm to any individual, be it the listener, the speaker, the person spoken about, or another party. It would also include information that could help prevent or correct damage that is physical, financial, emotional or spiritual.
It is correct to listen to a person’s claim against someone else if one thinks that he can be of help in rectifying the situation, or if the listener or someone else might be vulnerable to similar treatment by the person being spoken about. It is permissible to listen to information about a person with whom one is planning to collaborate in a joint venture, if the information is pertinent to that relationship. In all of the above instances, the information is being listened to for a constructive purpose, and hence is not considered loshon hora.