Workplace sexual harassment is a serious offense in California, even in its mildest forms. While requesting sexual favors from someone in exchange for employment or work privileges (quid pro quo) is obviously a violation of the laws in force, so are inappropriate jokes, office computer pornography, or touching someone in a suggestive or sexual way against their will.
But not all sexual harassment claims are true and justified. False allegations have become quite common as well, especially in cities like San Diego. Sometimes, the accuser misinterprets the accused’s words and actions. Other times, the accuser and the accused have a history and the false allegations are a form of revenge.
There are also scenarios when a discontent employee tries to get back on their employer and takes advantage of the fact that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission often holds the employer liable for allowing sexual harassment at their workplace or failing to prevent it.
Other scenarios are possible as well but no matter what these involve, one thing is certain: those falsely accused of sexual harassment risk losing wages, their job, and even ruining their reputation. Therefore, their priority should be to prove the falseness of the accusations against them and clear their name.
How to Fight False Allegations of Workplace Sexual Harassment in San Diego, CA
Here are a few steps anyone falsely accused of workplace sexual harassment in San Diego should follow:
1. Consult a San Diego Sexual Harassment Defense Lawyer
Since the laws in California leave room for interpretation, and those accused of sexual harassment have a lot to lose, they should not leave anything to chance. They should work with a San Diego sexual harassment defense attorney to prove their innocence.
2. Review the Charges Compared to Their Own Behavior
Sexual harassment laws sanction actions that would qualify as unwelcome or offensive to any reasonable person. This means the accused’s purpose should be to make sure their behavior is in no way offensive or unwelcome, and show that many reasonable persons do not perceive it as such.
3. Cooperate with the Investigation
All sexual harassment claims, no matter if they are justified or mere false allegations, will lead to an investigation. If the employer fails to conduct one, the Equal Employment Opportunity will not. The accused should cooperate and do everything in their power to show that they did not do or say anything wrong.
Depending on the circumstances, a San Diego sexual harassment defense lawyer may find it helpful for their client to apologize to the accuser, not for harassing them, but for the fact that they left the wrong impression. In other words, the accused would be saying that they have no sexual interests in their accuser, and they are sorry if the latter interpreted their behavior otherwise.
4. Analyze Workplace Policies and Find the Best Defense Strategy
Sometimes, to avoid liability for sexual harassment and workplace complications, employers prohibit relationships between their employees, or they foresee drastic penalties against anyone breaking their internal rules. It is better to review these policies with an experienced sexual harassment defense lawyer before deciding on a defense strateg, to know what to expect and avoid or minimize negative consequences.
5. Defend Reputation above Everything Else
Depending on the company’s policy, the charges brought, and the evidence available, the accused may not be able to keep their job. When that happens, it helps to have a lawyer negotiate termination terms and avoid any mentions of sexual harassment charges. Being fired for sexually harassing a colleague or employee never looks good on one’s records.
6. Proving Innocence
It is up to the San Diego sexual harassment defense lawyer to identify the best strategy. It could involve invoking lack of evidence, using witnesses, quoting case precedents, and more. The details are not as important as obtaining the dropping of the charges and clearing the name of the accused.
7. Seeking Compensation
If the damages the false allegations caused to the accused’s reputation and financial situation are serious, the latter has the right to seek compensation. The compensation can cover lows wages, lost employment, and reputation damage. Its value will depend on the damages the accused incurred, but also on the experience and commitment of their lawyer.
Hire a San Diego, CA, Sexual Harassment Defense Lawyer and Fight Those False Allegations!
Workplace sexual harassment charges are not something you want to see in your employment and even police records. We can help you fight them and clear your name. Contact San Diego Criminal now and schedule a preliminary consultation with a sexual harassment defense lawyer in San Diego, CA! Your lawyer will help you build a solid defense strategy for your case.