I am a woman falsely accused of sexual harassment

by Annon.
(Florida)

Falsely accused of sexual harassment.


I am a 25yr old female who works for the FL state government. I was recently having problems with a coworker who was rude to me. I wrote to my supervisors via email explaining the situation to them.

My supervisors then informed the guy who I had complained about, that I had in fact complained. They didn't tell him what it was about though.

He decided to retaliate and went for blood. He wrote to my supervisors telling them I did all of these nasty sexual things to him or toward him. He also accused me of racially discriminating against him (he's asian, I'm white)

I NEVER did any of the things he claimed I did!

Because I work for the government, they take these things very seriously. The department I work for has its own internal bureau of investigations and its own police department.

They sent an investigator who interviewed me, the man in question, and a few other employees.

During the investigation (which was recorded and documented) is when I found out what this man I worked with was accusing me of. I was shocked to say the least.

The investigation is still ongoing. The man who made these outragious claims against me quit a couple weeks after the investigation. (One of the other women I work with had been having problems with him too and she told the investigator. She believed he was breaking into her house.) I believe this is why he quit. He probably felt like he was going to lose his job if he didn't.

I am now in a situation where I am still being investigated because of these false claims from an ex-coworker who is now 1,200 miles away and I feel that I am being treated unfairly in the investigation.

The investigator is a black man and I feel like he is against me because I am female and because I am white.

I get the feeling that he was trying to take the coworkers side because they are both minorities.

He also repeatedly tells me that just because I am female doesn't mean they aren't going to investigate. Blah blah. I never even said anything about that! I'm an intellegent person, I believe in equality and I feel that men and women should be treated equally, but he's acting like I think that because I'm female I'll be getting away with this.

He just keeps shoving the fact that I am a woman being accused of sexual harassment down my throat. I feel like he is out to make an example of me because it's so rare that a man complains about sexual harassment from a woman.

I plan on putting my 2 week notice in in 2 days. These governmental investigations take weeks to come to a conclusion. I want to quit before I am fired because I have big plans for my future and am scared to death to be fired because of sexual harassment. I want to work for the federal government and they do serious background checks.

Who would hire me
after being fired for sexual harassment!? Or racial discrimination!? I'm terrified!

I also want to quit because I feel so degraded and slandered. So many people read that email that my ex-coworker wrote about me doing deplorable and nasty things. Now I am so uncomfortable in my workplace.

My coworkers give me wierd looks and now people try to avoid me, like they think I'm a whore now. It's terrible.

Should I request a different investigator because I feel that the current one is discriminating against me and being unfair? (It would leave documentation that I felt this way at least for unemployment benefit sake)(Like I exhausted all resources to keeping my job)

I could also write an email to my bosses saying I feel uncomfortable in the workplace etc... and this would leave a paper trail.

Thanks Chris for taking the time to read this. What do you think?




Hi Annon.

What I think is that you need to contact a lawyer.

I do not think you should quit because unemployment is not the entity that decides whether harassment exists or not. They only care that the employer will tell them you quit in the middle of an investigation that had not reached any conclusions yet.

But if you are not yet, you need to start writing everything down. You need to take it to a lawyer because if you were the first to make an official complaint against this guy and there was corroboration from another woman that he is odd .. not to mention the fact the the guy has quit .. the investigator may be seen to be acting in a retaliatory way. And when anyone is acting as an agent of the employer .. it's just like the employer did it .. but the problem is we have to tell someone up the food chain .. so they know.

Honestly, I wish I could help, but since you work for government and given what is happening to you .. I truly, truly suggest you talk to an attorney.

I think I briefly address harassment and when you should contact an attorney if quitting is on your mind on this page. (I might have removed it .. can't remember.)

Should you request another investigator .. Personally, I'm surprised the employer did not assign a woman to investigate in the first place so there would be no opportunity for you to claim the investigator might himself be "sexually harassing" you.

But I think I would first talk to an attorney and let him make the request.

A good attorney can do some pretty amazing things on your behalf .. there doesn't even need to be an irrefutable position .. they just need to be able to put the fear of God into the employer .. aka lawyer fees, bad press, a real sharp pain in the ass ...

Florida does have a statute which might (not sure about this situation) allow you to ask for your attorney fees.

I apologize Annon that all I can really do is give you something to think about.

I have no answers.

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Jan 06, 2016
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Class action anyone?
by: Anonymous

Is anyone willing to do a class action suit against the Office of Equal Opportunities for firing women accused of sexual harassment? I'm in that boat. The OEO conducted a prejudicial investigation using reverse-burden-of-proof, illegally used flagged files, contacted former family members involved in incest towards me, used testimony from a married man I refused to have a one night stand with 25 years ago (even though 3 of the people involved in that were fired and 3 others were indicted). The OEO brought their case to a board that was not allowed to question the findings, who conducted a hearing in a town 7 hours away, would not allow me to provide other witnesses, and would not give my testimony any weight. Needless to say I was fired. We need to stop the OEO.

Jan 06, 2013
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Act immediately, have faith in your integrity
by: Anonymous1

Hi, I feel for you. I am a male that was falsely accused of sexual harassment by a female for a non sexual comment I made that upset her. Much like the person that filed against you, she quit immediately after making the accusation and made up ludicrous false statements to support her claim. I lost my job, my reputation, my friends, my home, and am now deeply in debt. Take action immediately, have faith in your integrity, and be prepared for a long battle. As a state employee you have special rights and you should get an attorney immediately. It will be more than worth the cost in the long run. Good luck.

Mar 18, 2011
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Fired for Sexual harassment
by: Anonymous

I was also fired for sexual harassment. I am a female and I worked for a government agency. Our supervisor constantly made comments about women being this or that and he would call certain people names. He even moved many of our shifts around to tick us off, hoping we would quit. It became so unbearable with the unfairness toward women and certain people who backed certain people during political campaigns. I decided to speak out on the opponents public web page for HELP. I spoke of the truth and what was happening. I did not slander or make up lies or even mention names. I spoke to this person asking for help in correcting the hostile work environment and decided to back this person running for an elected position in my town.
I made a comment one morning to a guy friend, WHO made up this joke. "If you have a wiener around here you don't get in trouble" A few other people, men and women both said a few nasty things, we all giggled and I went home for the day.
(EVERYONE spoke like trash)
This got to the Ever so Holy Supervisor and he started an investigation which was not professional by any means.
After a month and 7 seven days after The "Certain" person took office, I and another female were fired while the others who also made comments were not disciplined. Men included.
After I was fired they made up some "rule" that IF They asked for passwords to view your personal emails, Facebook, any networking, you had to give it and if YOU refused they would fire you on the spot. They saw my post on the political web page and Fired me for Sexual harassment. The other female co-worker who also made a few comments on the election page was fired 5 months before me.
I realize our comments were un professional BUT they were said BUY Numerous people and It wasn't a frequent situation.
I'm sorry for anyone who has to deal with this type of issue! Although I'm against any type of sexual harassment, I feel some things are and should NOT be considered this. I also have a future. I worked in this field for 11 years. I am also a student, back in school to further my options in a career!


Jul 07, 2010
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OMG! I'm in the same boat....sort of
by: Anonymous

I'm a male elementary teacher. I was suspended with pay March 2010. I was called out of class into a meeting where I was informed and summarily escorted off the property and told not to speak to anyone who might be involved. All they told me was "innapropriate behavior towards several female employees". They would not answer any questions or tell me anything more until 2 weeks ago! Now they have "investigated" and have all this stuff, some of which is true, and some of which is totally false.False - They say I massaged the shoulders of a female employee. I would NEVER touch another person. I'm married 10 yeasr with 2 young children.
False - They showed me pictures they say they found on my computer. Nothing sexual, but violent images like car crashes, some guy getting killed with a knife, stuff like that....about 10 images. I have no idea where they came from and had not seen them before. False - They asked me if I had altered my computer so I could acess blocked sites (like Utube) I didn't and wouldn't know how. Lots of sites come up blocked, you just have to deal with it if you use the computers.
Other things they had were,A get well note I sent a coworker. Three pictures with custom captions. Like, "Recess sure has changed while you've been out" under a picture of an opium den. Lunchtime is crazy" Under a picture of the crowd at that massive tomato fight they have every year in Italy. Stuff like that. Nothing sexual at all. But they point out that the guys in the tomato fight don't have shirts on so it's sexual harrassment. I mailed it to her. I saw her when she came in for her paycheck and she told me that she had "laughed and laughed" when she got it and it made her feel better to have a laugh.I was given a real ostrich egg last christmas and took it in as a library display. I found a few books in the library about ostriches and printed a wikipedia article about "ostrich egg". Unfourtunatly, I just skimmed the article and highlighted what I thought wasrelevant..largest single cell, largest egg of any land animal Elsewhere in the article, and unnoticed by me, was the work "cock" describing the male bird and that he would "mount the female" and that they kept "harems". Of course, the article was there with the egg for at least 2 months before it dissapeard and I got an email from the principle that certain parts were not appropriate for our students (Grades 5-6). After looking up the article again and carefully reading it, she was right. I gave 2 packs of markers to coworkerwrapped them in construction paper in the art room, drizzled her name in glue (Mrs. Smith, I wrote) with a glue heart around the top of the package then sprinkled glitter on the glue. I put it on her desk. I had no idea that it would do this, but it REALLY bothered her, like I was hitting on her I guess. She complained to management, not me.




Jul 03, 2010
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It's Annon again
by: Anonymous

Hi. I contacted an attorney yesterday (finally after like 15 phone calls) who was willing to talk to me on the spot on the phone. He told me I should find out about my rights as a career service employee, any po rights, and any appeal options. Being as I work for the govnmt, there's a lot of red tape when anything is done. They can't just fire me on the spot.

I will be notified 10 days prior to being fired of an 'intent to dismiss' and at that time I can set up an appeal hearing to explain why I don't think I should be dismissed.

If they decide to still dismiss me, I can file a grievence or appeal to PERC.

So basically, I have options. But the scary thing is that they probably wont be able to get me on the sexual harassment thing, but the might get me on 'behavior unbecomming of an employee'.

Friends at work and I sent each other funny txt messages, that might not be considered appropriate. And this ex-coworker decided to use those txt messages against me too.

I never sent any of these messages on work time, it was only on my own personal time so I am not sure how much they can do to me, but still...

I'm worried and I don't want this to haunt me forever. Especially since I didn't do anything!!!!




Hi,

I can't speak to the intricacies of the internal grievance procedures of any employer .. only advise anyone to follow through .. all a part of that effort to keep a job, but I can tell you that for unemployment purposes.

"Misconduct" must be connected to the work and any employer would be wise to have "direct testimony" available to address "text messages" sent outside work and how it caused them harm, but I still wouldn't feel good about their chances .. because unless the text messages caused real harm and unless they uniformly enforced the rule? .... how is it connected to the work?

They have control over our actions while at work.

There are certain jobs that carry what I can only call a "trust factor" that must be given to an employee to conduct their personal lives in a fashion beyond reproach.

Police officers, teachers, 911 dispatcher, etc., and even those corporate officer types or people in a position of "public contact" for an employer that when there off the job personal behavior may cause harm to an employer's interest by causing harm to an image.

A teacher accused of molestation will usually be terminated, but if they are acquitted or if the accusation is recanted and they aren't reinstated .. watch out .. it not only can lead to lawsuits for wrongful termination, but unemployment benefits become a no brainer.

Just something else to think about.

Jul 01, 2010
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Annon
by: Anonymous

Thanks Chris and other anonymous commenter.

I contacted several lawyers, but I was basically told that they work to defend the person who claims to be sexually harassed, not the person who was blamed for the sexual harassment.

I might be able to contact an attorney to go against the department rather than the ex-coworker that accused me of these things?

I have absolutely zero experience with attorneys. One guy who was willing to talk to me was going to charge me a $200 consultation, just to even talk to see if he could help! Is this normal? Do you have a page on your site giving tips about how to not get ripped off by lawyers or how to check and see if a lawyer is any good or not?

Thanks. I will come back and let you know how everything turned out.



Hi Anonymous,

All I have is a link to Legal Match It's an affiliate link which just means I earn 2.50 every time somebody fills out the lawyer referral form. That's free, but attorneys never are .. are they.

I think that although the investigation began because of someone accusing you of sexual harassment, it has actually become now, a matter of the employer allowing you to be sexually harassed by the investigator's continued investigation into your behavior .. given that another woman has come forward saying your accuser was the harasser and the fact that the accuser has since quit.

I'm probably wrong, but I would think a lawyer with half a brain would be at least willing to offer a free consultation to see if there is potential to take your case on contingency.

If I can perceive this .. I don't understand why an attorney can't perceive this.

My dealings with lawyers were always on behalf of employers. In the many years I did do that the most I ever payed an attorney for an "unemployment hearing" was 400 dollars. The usual fee was 150 to 200 for a hearing, but of course I did all the faxing, requesting, witness gathering and prepping .. they just showed up at hearings 15 prior.

They worked so cheap because the lawyers I used preferred retainers from employers for other legal matters .. vs. taking cases on contingency from employees with shallower pockets. They saw UI hearings as a form of cheap advertising of their legal prowess.

Most good employment attorney range from 250 to 300 an hour.

Not a pretty picture, but true.

Don't give up. You just haven't found the right attorney yet. Ask them if they are willing to negotiate the price of the initial consultation.

After all, the recession has hurt them as well.

Try Martindale, Florida Bar, American Bar Assoc., Florida free legal services.

Use your instincts when choosing a lawyer. They aren't all what they would like us to think they are cracked up to be.

I wish I could help more. Maybe I should try to start a referral list.

Jun 30, 2010
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A few more comments about..
by: Anonymous

I thought that you did great Chris. Definitely- Immediately get yourself an attorney. Even when trying to apply for future agencies you may find this situation, difficult to overcome if you don't. Stand up for what is right. Fight for what is yours. So far, things seem to be on your side with the other co-worker and the fact that he has since quit. You need support. You cannot represent yourself. You must always go into these Internal Affairs interviews with someone. Lawyer, union rep, or someone. No matter how truthful your position is. Please take Chris' advice and contact an attorney. You deserve it.

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