How to Respond to a Sexual Harassment Accusation at Work
If you were accused of sexual harassment at work, the next steps you take are crucial. While your instinct may be to firmly claim your innocence and defend yourself, it is best to keep a cool head and consult with a qualified sex crimes attorney, like a top sex crimes attorney in DC, about how to respond. The more intensely you react to the charges against you, the less likely people are to listen and trust your side of the story.
Sexual harassment is defined as any sexual advances, favors or behavior that is unwelcome. It can be either verbal or physical, which alters the conditions of a person’s job or creates a hostile work environment. Being accused of such an offense can be confusing and frustrating, especially as people who find out about the situation at work may be quick to take sides and be judgemental.
Your attorney may suggest responding to a sexual harassment accusation at work by taking the following steps:
Write Down Everything that Happened
Provide a detailed written account of how the incident occurred through your perspective, and then share this with your attorney. Your story may drastically vary from the accuser’s story, however, it is important that your side gets shared as well. Your attorney will look over your side of things and suggest where perhaps the accuser had misinterpreted your words or actions. Your attorney can then use this information to create your defense strategy.
Tell Your Attorney the Truth
Be honest with your attorney. If you aren’t forthcoming about the incident, then they cannot properly protect you. Trying to hide little details that you think may work against you may only hurt your case in the end. Remember that your attorney is on your side and is there to help you avoid punishment.
Provide Witnesses and an Alibi
If the sexual harassment claims against you are not true, then it can help to provide an alibi and witness statements who can attest to where you were at the time that the supposed incident occurred. If the accuser says that you harassed them and you know for a fact you were talking with someone in the office, were at home that day, or in a meeting, then bring this up with your attorney. Give your attorney the names of coworkers or other people who can provide you with an alibi so that he or she can reach out for an official statement.
Do Not Confront the Accuser
Under no circumstances should you speak with the person who accused you of sexual harassment. While you may think that approaching them stating your side of the story will only clear the air, the fact that they filed an accusation against you means they are probably not going to waver. What you say to the accuser may be used as additional fuel for the allegations you are up against. Statements you make verbally, through email, voicemail, a phone call, or letter can be misconstrued and used against you.
Thanks to The Lawfirm of Frederick J. Brynn, P.C. for their insight into how to navigate a sexual harassment claim against you at work.