Have you been falsely accused of sexual harassment on the job?
First, you should understand what constitutes workplace harassment. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, harassment is considered any employment discrimination which includes unwelcome conduct based on race, color, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. That applies to employers.
If you’re a contract worker or an employee, then you too may face harassment claims or charges involving sex. The EEOC defines sexual harassment as “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.”
Even if no sexual affronts or intrusions occurred, it’s illegal in the U.S. to harass a person at work simply because of the person’s sex or gender. In other words, offensive remarks about a person’s sex or making offensive comments about women or men in general is a fireable offense.
Federal law doesn’t prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments or isolated incidents that aren’t very serious. However, harassment is illegal when it becomes so severe or frequent that it creates an offensive or hostile work environment, or leads to a victim being demoted or fired.
In any case of harassment, the victim and the accused harasser can be either male or female, or both be of the same sex. The person doing the harassment at work can be a supervisor, a co-worker, a client or a customer.
Have You Been Accused of Workplace Sexual Harassment?
Many men and women today are accused of sexual harassment on the job. If you’re one of them, you should know your legal options.
First, it’s important that you contact an experienced sex crimes defense lawyer. Your attorney will help you explore many avenues to defend your legal rights.
For one thing, the burden of proof in such claims lies with the alleged victim. Indeed, sexual harassment can be in the eye of the beholder. That is, innocent remarks can be misconstrued or misinterpreted as being harassment, especially in these sensitive times.
The ongoing #MeToo movement has spurred many women to make claims of sexual assaults, sexual abuse or sexual harassment against men, often years after the alleged events took place. Such claims are immediately taken as fact by many in society at large.
In such a heated climate, numerous men have been quickly shunned and even lost their jobs before any due process occurred in the legal arena. Men’s lives and careers have been damaged in this rush to judgment after claims of sexual abuse or harassment are made, even without such claims being proven to be true.
The presumption of innocence, which is a hallmark of our legal system and is written into Texas law, is frequently trampled by those who make a sexual abuse claim or accept such a claim without actually proving it.
By hiring an attorney, you can fight this. First, they’ll investigate the incident or incidents in question to determine if it can be proven that any form of sexual harassment actually took place, or if instead the claim was based on a misunderstanding or misinterpretation of events.
Your lawyer also can evaluate the credibility of the alleged victim to determine if their claim of sexual harassment at work has merit. Perhaps the claimant had a reason to dislike you and invented the sexual harassment claim as a way of lashing out or seeking revenge.
In such a case, that would be a false claim of sexual harassment at work.
Employers Also Have Rights
If you’re an employer who’s being accused by an employee of false harassment in the workplace, keep in mind that you have rights, too.
First, you should request to see a written complaint and ask that the allegations be kept confidential until the matter is resolved.
Then, it’s important not to lash out at an accuser, but rather to maintain a calm and professional demeanor. You can refute a claim without angrily attacking it. In fact, the worst thing you can do is to confront an accuser in an openly hostile manner.
In dealing with the accusation — perhaps via an in-house mediation — you must defend yourself by telling your side of the story in a truthful and persuasive way. If the claims of sexual harassment are false, then deny them firmly but professionally.
If you cannot resolve the matter with an in-house mediation, then you and your attorney can plan next steps for disputing the allegation and defending your reputation.
Engage an Experienced Sexual Harassment Lawyer
Whether you’re an employee or an employer, if you’ve been falsely accused of sexual harassment at work, you should engage a skilled lawyer to handle your case. Such false claims should be dealt with quickly and efficiently, and without “he said, she said” clamor or rancor.
At the Neal Davis Law Firm, we can do the heavy lifting. Contact us today to receive a confidential legal review of your case. Then, you can decide how you wish to proceed in defending against a false harassment charge at work.