With the prominence of the #MeToo movement, sexual harassment and other forms of abuse have been in the spotlight lately. There can be no doubt that sexual harassment continues to be pervasive in workplaces in California and elsewhere. However, few people consider the other side of the coin – that of employers and businesses that are falsely accused of perpetuating, allowing or ignoring sexual harassment.
You may take painstaking measures to prevent sexual harassment at your workplace, which is why it is imperative to understand the potential causes and consequences of a false harassment claim against your company.
It may sound outrageous, but false claims do occur. You might encounter the following situations among your staff:
- An employee filing a false claim of sexual harassment against another after ending a dating relationship or out of dislike
- One employee misunderstanding the intentions or behavior of another employee and accusing him or her of sexual harassment, despite the other person not intending any harm
- An employee making up a claim against a manager out of anger or retaliation for a real or supposed slight
Sexual harassment encompasses numerous behaviors of a sexual nature that are unwanted and unreciprocated, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Misunderstandings at your company might be possible, but some employees may be well aware of the nuances of sexual harassment and use their knowledge to harm their co-workers or your business.
It is best to follow through with an investigation, according to your company’s sexual harassment policy, even if you suspect an employee’s claims are false. When you follow the proper procedures and take every claim seriously, you stand a better chance of protecting your business, as well as your staff. You may also benefit from examining your legal recourse when your company is facing sexual harassment claims.