The impact of being a victim of a false accusation at work is always horrendous – relationships ruined, friendships broken, reputation lost. When the false accusation relates to sexual harassment in the workplace, the desolation is even greater.
The sense of shame is crippling and the humiliation is unbearable. Many people who are falsely accused of inappropriate behaviour at work, never fully recover from the experience, particularly because of the feeling of powerlessness that can quickly descend if you do not regain some control of the situation. According to The Justice Gap, a recent study by Oxford University’s Centre for Criminology, found that ‘a new and growing class of ‘victims’ ‘were being left in a living hell with lives and relationships wrecked’ and ‘high anxiety levels, severe depression, ill health and associated symptoms of trauma’. 1
Worse still, you are likely be to be in the unfortunate situation of having to face hours chewing over what you could have said or done differently, what people must think and what your colleagues will be saying, whilst on suspension from work.
Then of course, there are all the other people that are affected, relationships nurtured and cared for, for years, gone in an instant or under serious strain, the knowing looks, stiff smiles and hellos ignored. Your children, partner and even wider family having to fight a battle on their own turf in your defence. The only thing you want, is to find a way to bring this to an end. Well listen:
Why this is the best thing to do if you are falsely accused of sexual harassment
Although it may seem that things have spiralled out of control so quickly that you cannot recover any sense of order, there are actions that you can take to retrieve some power over your future.
Hope and optimism stem from the fact that regardless of how bad things may seem, we always have options. Even better, some of these actions, like the lie detector test, can actually help you to build evidence to support your innocence.
Sexual harassment is everywhere nowadays, and accusations against employees are growing more and more frequent. Reporting in theguardian.com, Mona Chalabi cites data from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EECO) which found that ‘over half of sexual harassment claims resulted in no charge’, in ‘52%’ of cases there was ‘no reasonable cause to believe that discrimination occurred’. 2
Thus, although it looks as if your life and hard-won career are over, and that you have been left defenceless and open, at the mercy of your accuser and HR department – you do still have options. Let me take you through them.
We see it in the media all the time, one single allegation and your whole career comes toppling down, and that is only within the first 12 hours. You worked hard to build your reputation and you want it back, you have the threat of dismissal and a blackened reference following you
around like a thick dark fog. You need to do something and you can. Something to remind yourself and your family and friends, that you are not only innocent, but that you are still the same decent, trustworthy person that they know and love. So firstly:
What is sexual harassment at work?
What counts as sexual harassment in the workplace? The official definition from acas.org.uk is: sexual harassment is defined as any actions deemed to be ‘violating the dignity of a worker, or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them’, whether the alleged harasser intended it to be or not. 3
What should you do if you are falsely accused of sexual harassment at work?
- Take a lie detector test: the issue with a false accusation, is that it is your word against someone else’s – you have no evidence. Undergoing a polygraph test will first of all show very clearly that you have nothing to hide. Secondly, it provides you with concrete evidence to demonstrate that you are both innocent and responsible when you attend the hearing at work. Thirdly, now when you engage in those awkward conversations with family and friends about how things are, you now have something positive to share, that both alleviates their concerns and provides them with something that they can hold on to, too.
- Be honest: Don’t try to cover up anything, if you know that you did do something that was even the least bit dodgy, be open and honest. Apologise for any damage done, although offence was not the intention.
- Gather any witnesses that you can: regardless of the fact that you would rather keep the whole thing on a need-to-know basis, you need to get as much evidence as you can. Think back to the incident in question and get written statements, as well as the guarantee that they are willing to repeat their statement in person.
- Resist the urge to interfere with procedures and milestones: although you may be fired up with the results from your lie detector test and witnesses prepared to go on record to defend you, do not interrupt pre-arranged dates and scheduling. Instead, if you have to go into work whilst investigations take place, be the consummate professional and continue to do your job as normal, to the best of your ability.
- Get some good legal advice: all of these actions may be easy steps to take, but they do not provide you with any legal guidance, and you do need some. So please ensure that you seek some solid legal advice and follow their guidance about what to do next.
Regain control of your life with a lie detector test
If you or someone you know are facing false accusations of sexual harassment or something else, we can provide a valuable way to begin to regain some control.
Book your lie detector test and gain some evidence to prove that you are innocent at last. Speak to one of our friendly team to arrange your lie-detector test today.