One of the unfortunate consequences of being wrongly accused of sexual harassment is that your reputation may be permanently tarnished. As unfair as it is, there are some individuals who will continue to assume that an individual accused of sexual harassment must be in some way guilty. But regardless of whether you survive the court of public opinion, you can still prove you are innocent in civil court.
Be Careful with What You Say
The best way to protect yourself from a sexual harassment lawsuit is to avoid making comments that could be construed as sexual harassment. Teasing or a single mild sexual comment will not likely lead to a successful harassment lawsuit, but the less evidence the plaintiff has that these comments were pervasive, the better.
For your behavior to be considered sexual harassment, the advances would need to be unwanted. Therefore, if you can demonstrate that these advances were wanted, the plaintiff is less likely to win the case. For example, if there is evidence that you have been courting someone from the workplace or if several witnesses attested to both you and the plaintiff engaging in teasing in a reciprocal manner, this could be evidence that the behavior was desired. Still, the best protection is to not become sexually involved with a coworker or employee at all.
Take Complaints Seriously
Take any requests to cease potentially harassing behavior seriously. To win a case, the plaintiff usually will need to have told you once that the behavior must stop. The plaintiff may complain to a supervisor or the human resources department, so you should communicate with them as well to come up with an appropriate course of action. If you suspect that the employee is uncomfortable, ask him or her if there is anything you are doing that causes discomfort and listen carefully. Avoid being defensive and instead focus on changes you can make to avoid behaviors that could be seen as sexual harassment.
Respect Personal Space
Respect everyone's personal space and avoid touching anyone unless you have permission. For example, if an employee appears tense, it is not acceptable to rub his or her shoulders unless you have been given permission beforehand.
Keep Sexual Behavior Out of the Workplace
Sexual behavior does not belong in most workplaces because such behavior does not project a professional image, even if the behavior is wanted. If you engage in such behavior anyway, and a coworker or employee accuses you of sexual harassment, you will need to find an attorney specialized in sexual harassment in the workplace.
For more information, contact a business lawyer like Caldwell Kennedy & Porter.Share
16 September 2015
There are so many legal situations that you can find yourself involved with, but do those situations really require that you hire an attorney? Some instances you may not need an attorney working with you, but in other situations, an attorney is definitely a necessity. This blog contains tips and advice for working through the different elements of the legal system. You will find information that can help you determine if/when you need to hire an attorney to represent your best interests. Knowing this information can help you avoid the costly mistake of taking on the legal system without someone who knows how the system works.