Anonymous asked this question on 5/5/2000:
What are the steps to take, legally or otherwise, when you have been falsely accused of sexual harassment?
sugarpop gave this response on 5/6/2000:
Your rights in this area depend on what state you live in. If you live in a state that has "at will" employment with no other blanket protections, you have no legal rights to any additional protection. However if you have an employment contact, or if your employee manual provides some rights - appeal for example - you should insist on those rights.
If you were working for a public institution such as a hospital, university or government agency, then you have all rights of "due process" under the sixth amendment that are considerable.
In order to succeed in defeating a false accusation, you will need corroborating evidence of high quality from documents or from other co-workers who are otherwise disinterested. You will also need legal help. Your organization, typically, only wants the problem to go away. They are not interested in your concerns. You will need good legal help from an attorney who is experienced in sexual harassment law to evaluate your case. Expect the fight to be brutal and expensive.
The EEOC has guidelines that are designed to protect accused parties to some degree, but they are not well enforced. There is an institutional bias at the EEOC in favor of accusers. There are severe penalties in the EEOC guidelines for both a false accuser and for the company that supports and acts on a false accusation, but you will have to have good evidence, a good attorney and the funds to fight the battle.
Good luck to you. I wish I could give you better news. The law will only be changed when people in your situation insist on their rights.
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