False Sexual Harassment Claim Lawyers
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What Is Considered Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment lawsuits can be a serious financial threat to your business with some individual’s receiving up to $300,000 from their employers. To protect yourself and your business from false claims of sexual harassment, it is helpful to understand what kind of behavior could lead to a sexual harassment lawsuit. There are two major types of sexual harassment in the workplace: Quid Pro Quo and Hostile Work Environment.
- Quid Pro Quo: Quid Pro Quo is when an employer or supervisor offers rewards to an employee for sexual favors or punishes an employee for refusing to provide sexual favors. This includes punishment or threats of punishment for refusing to enter a sexual relationship or continuing an existing consensual relationship.
- Hostile Work Environment: When verbal, non-verbal or physical behavior is concentrated on an employee’s sexuality by an employer or another employee. If a reasonable person would have difficulty working under the work conditions or would find the behavior intimidating or offensive, then the behavior is considered sexual harassment.
What Should I Do If I Have Been Falsely Accused of Sexual Harassment?
The first thing you should do when accused of sexual harassment is monitor what you say. If questioned about it by a supervisor or the HR department, you should immediately request the opportunity to obtain an attorney before you discuss the allegation. The burden of proof in a sexual harassment case is on the accuser, therefore, if you have done nothing wrong, your job and assets should be safe. However, following the instructions of a skilled employment attorney is important as anything you say to coworkers, your employer, the accuser, etc. can be used against you in court. In addition, you should keep a record of all the events related to the case and allegations as you remember them. This record should be made specifically for you and your attorney alone.
If you are falsely accused of sexual harassment or rape, you may have a claim for defamation. However, unless the evidence of the false accusation is nearly indisputable, defamation actions can have large legal fees and are difficult to win.
What If a Co-Workers Learned About the Accusation?
If someone at works spreads word of the sexual harassment allegations throughout your company, you should identify the source as you may have a claim for defamation.
How Can Employers Separate False Accusations from Real Accusations?
It is important for employers to be fair and objective to both sides until a conclusive investigation can be conducted. First, employers should treat all employees the same or be prepared to face discrimination suits in the future. For example, if a female employee in her twenties is allowed to make innocent jokes, then the male co-worker in his forties should be allowed to do the same long as a reasonable person would not be offended and the work environment remains appropriate.
Second, employers should avoid publishing the accusations to the public, which includes verbally voicing the belief that the accusations are true or false. Publication of false information can result in a defamation claim.
Finally, the employer should adopt the legal stance of "innocent until proven guilty." Employers should avoid mistreating or punishing the accused until the investigation has been concluded. Doing so without solid evidence creates a hostile work environment for the accused which can result in a legal claim against the employer.
If Terminated or Punished Due to a False Accusation, Can I File a Lawsuit?
If you are fired due to a false accusation of sexual harassment, you may have a claim against your employer and/or the accuser for wrongful termination.
Should I Seek Legal Advice?
If you are being accused of sexual harassment, then it is very important to consult an employment attorney immediately to prepare a defense. An attorney can also advise you on how manage your conduct during the dispute to prevent further damage to your reputation and career. In addition, you may have potential claims for defamation or wrongful termination that could result in receiving compensatory and punitive damages.
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Last Modified: 06-26-2017 10:47 PM PDT
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