FlsAccusations: March 2005

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Added Link for Erik Pistol

I wanted to pass along a brilliant site by Erik Pistol. Please visit Erik at [http://mensrights.bizhosting.com/]

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Tomorrow could be the worst day of your life. And, there isn't a damn thing you can do about it.

Tomorrow could be the worst day of your life. Your life, your job, your health, could be completely ruined. And, there isn't a damn thing you can do about it. This isn't about a car accident, a random act of violence, mother nature, or even terrorism. It's about being a good, loyal, hard working, conscientious employee.
It doesn't matter if you have had this job for 1 day, or over 20 years. You enjoy this job, the challenges, the profession. You don't take advantage or abuse the benefits of the job, e.g., sick leave, tardy. And then it happens.
You are called for a meeting with your supervisor, manager, or human relations department. Congratulations, you have been accused of wrongly sexual harassment. Welcome to the worst day of your life.

Very interesting statistics to share with you. It is reported that only 10% of sexual harassment claims are legitimate. Even worse, almost 30% of these claims are completely, totally false! Of the remaining 60%, well, let's just say the story usually changes, considerably.

If you are in the 10% category, let's hope for swift and deserved justice. This is not about that 10%, this is about those falsely accused of sexual harassment. You have to understand the definition, the process, the law, your rights. Most disturbing, you have no rights, but that will be discussed shortly.

You must realize, that sexual harassment is not defined as an actual event. It is the perception of an event. It could even be words you say, or how you say them. Books or magazines you read. Even if your butt itches, and you scratch it, and it is witnessed, you could be accused. A handshake or pat on the back. How does this person perceive that handshake or pat on the back? Your good intentions are not important, or sometimes justified. More disturbing, a co-worker does not like you for your sex, your color, your background, your religion, your lifestyle, your work ethics, maybe you argued over the budget, for whatever reason, this person just does not care for you. Let's hope this co-worker is not a conniving, deceitful, lying, backstabber.

This person goes to the appropriate department head. Perhaps this person states their concern that your handshake, your pat on the back, whatever, was inappropriate or they felt uncomfortable. Perhaps this person just fabricated a story, and outright lied. It doesn't matter. A complaint has been filed! The company does not have to prove you guilty, you have to prove your innocent!

The current laws and regulations (www.eeoc.gov) require that an employer must seriously investigate any complaint of sexual harassment. Remember the handshake? This person claims you touched them inappropriately and made them uncomfortable. Scratching your butt can be claimed as you inappropriately rubbing yourself in front of them. Or, they have made up the most outlandish story worthy of a Pulitzer. It doesn't matter, your company must investigate it. You will be called in to the office and told of the complaint, or you may not. Your supervisor says to you, "You have been accused of touching someone inappropriately." That is all they have to tell you. They don't have to tell you who complained, when it took place, or where it took place. Confidentiality is the rule. So, how do you defend yourself? You can't! The company does not have to prove you guilty, you have to prove your innocent!

Are you scared yet? You should be. Your employer has now done everything required of them by law. Forget Title VII. Forget Civil Rights. Forget your Union/Labor agreement. Forget it all, you have no protection. At the least, you will be disciplined, but, in all probability, your employment could be terminated.
What happened to the person who falsely accused you? Absolutely nothing. Zero. Nada. Elvis has left the building. A person who complains of sexual harassment, even falsely, can not be retaliated against! They continue their job as if nothing has happened. Accruing seniority, pay raises, and for all the irony, they now have their employer by the gonads. If they lied once, they will lie again. They don't get a pay raise, a promotion, keys to the executive washroom? They can file a complaint with the EEOC for retaliation! You, on the otherhand, have limited choices.

You loose seniority, pay, insurance, perhaps your retirement. You try to find another job with a company, and start at the bottom of the ladder again. Would you hire someone who was terminated from their last job because of a sexual harassment claim?

Now don't get me wrong, you do have an option. If you can afford it. If, and only if, you can prove this co-worker made a false allegation, you have a good legal case for slander, intentional emotional distress, and recovery of lost wages. Again, good luck in finding an attorney who will represent you. Most will charge a minimum of $20,000 for a retainer fee, and then a percentage of any judgments. Most states have a statutory limit, so any recovery will be minimal. You could explore small claims as an option, but there again, there is a limit of an award, and slander usually cannot be brought to small claims court.

As for me, it has been over 5 years when I was wrongly accused of sexual harassment. Last year, the person who accused me, admitted it had all been a lie. I lost everything. Insurance, retirement, savings, credit rating. All of it. From the emotional and physical stress, my health has deteriorated to make me unemployable and uninsurable. Depression, high blood pressure, diabetes, several mini-strokes, all attributed to my treatment by my employer. And, yet the person who accused me, continues to work, accrue seniority, the pay, and the benefits.
I'm asking everyone to write to their Congressman, their Senator, the EEOC, any and everyone you can think of. Voice your concern. Ask/demand that the rules be changed to offer protection and rights not only to the innocent, but more especially, to the wrongly accused. A person making false accusations, should be just as guilty. A person falsely accused deserves rights and protection, as well.

Any comments, questions, opinions, etc., I am interested. Please email to fls_accusations@yahoo.com. Thank you.


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