The topic of sexual harassment is a very sensitive and complex one, especially when a person has been accused of this at their workplace. Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, verbal or physical sexual conduct, or requests for sexual favors. Unfortunately, many people may claim that sexual harassment happened to them, when they actually misread the situation or just want to get back at a coworker for something they did. Every claim of sexual harassment is treated seriously, as it should be, but this may also motivate dishonest people to file false accusations for their own personal benefit at the company.
If you were accused of sexual harassment at work, don’t panic. Try to stay calm, follow this legal advice, and meet with a sex crimes attorney, like a top sex crimes attorney in DC, as soon as you can.
Do Not Try to Talk Things Out with Your Coworker
If you believe that the incident was a simple misunderstanding and want to clear your name right away, you may be inclined to speak with your coworker to resolve the issue. Anything you say to them during this time may be used against you later on, though. Your statements may be twisted and construed in a way that benefits the supposed victim. It’s best to stay away from them, do not engage in a conversation, and keep your distance at all costs. If your coworker filed a claim maliciously, then the chances of them being open to clearing the air with you are slim.
Jog Your Memory By Writing Everything Down
When you get home from work that day, consider sitting down, taking a few big calming breaths, and writing down your version of the story. Perhaps you were engaging with your coworker at the date, time, and location they claim in their report. Maybe there are some crucial details that your coworker has failed to report or you can identify where a misunderstanding may have occurred. Share this with your attorney, but no one else, so that they have as much information as possible.
Refrain from Retaliating
When someone is accused of sexual harassment wrongfully, they may be tempted to make false claims about their coworker too as a way to retaliate. However, this may only escalate the situation and make matters even worse for you. You may be embarrassed, frustrated, angry, and emotional. The best person to reach out to when you need support and advice on how to handle yourself during this time is your attorney.
Forward Information Provided By Human Resources
You may be contacted by the human resources department for your company. This representative may inform you about company policies and offer to mediate the situation if that is possible. You may simply have to wait until the company investigates and they let you know the findings. Any information that is provided to you by human resources should be forwarded for your attorney. Do not answer any questions from human resources, your coworkers, boss, or other parties involved until speaking with your attorney.
Thanks to The Lawfirm of Frederick J. Brynn, P.C. for their insight into what to do if you were accused of sexual harassment at work.