Falsely Accused of Harassment
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What Does "Falsely Accused of Harassment" Mean?
"Falsely accused of harassment" refers to sexual harassment claims that are filed for the sole purpose of disturbing the person being accused. Also called "frivolous lawsuits", these are often filed with the plaintiff knowing that:
- The harassment claims are completely false and unfounded
- The case has little to no chance of succeeding in court
- One of the main motivations is simply to obtain a monetary damages award
- No harassment actually occurred
Harassment in the workplace has become a common lawsuit theme in recent years. In light of this, some persons have been taking advantage of this recent trend by filing lawsuits in order to make profit from the other party. However, such false accusations carry various penalties and consequences with them.
What are the Consequences of Filing a False Harassment Claim?
Courts generally discourage plaintiffs from filing false and frivolous lawsuits in general. However, false harassment claims in particular may be associated with strict legal consequences, such as:
- A contempt order from the court
- Civil or criminal fines
- A counter-lawsuit for defamation by the person being accused
Also, additional legal consequences may arise if other issues are connected with the filing, such as employee discrimination (i.e., filing a false harassment against a person as a discriminatory act)
Can I Obtain Damages if I’ve Suffered Losses Due to a False Claim?
If you have had a false harassment claim filed against you, it may be possible for you to obtain a damages award for losses. These can include losses like:
- Lost wages
- Termination from a job position
- Damage to reputation (defamation or slander)
Lastly, it’s illegal for employer to fire a worker who has filed a claim for sexual harassment. Rather than fire the employee, the employer should see the legal process through to completion, and let the court determine what the best remedy is for that employee.
Do I Need a Lawyer if I’ve Been Falsely Accused of Harassment?
Harassment claims can often involve complex legal concepts and theories. You may wish to hire a qualified lawyer in your area if you need help defending against a harassment claim. Your attorney can provide you with legal advice, and can help identify whether a claim is frivolous or false. Also, your lawyer may be able to assist you in obtaining damages for losses.
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Last Modified: 04-23-2014 11:27 AM PDT
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