A sexual harassment case was filed against me by the spouse of my assistant and without my assistants knowledge or permission.

If my assistant denies the claims and says that
her husband made accusations because he
was jealous, can I still be investigated? The
spouse admitted to HR that he exaggerated
and made false claims. What things would they
look into if they do investigate? If my assistant
denies that there was assault can I still be at
risk?

Asked on June 25, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You can definitely be investigated by your company (e.g. by HR) if there was a claim made to them of harassment: the law does not limit what you could be investigated by an employer, or what evidence (if any) they need to take disciplinary action, up to and including termination. The company can look into what it wants to, and do what it wants with that information. They could elect to take action simply because there is a *chance* this may have happened and they don't want the consequences if it did.
A claim could also be filed with the EEOC or the state's equal/civil rights agency, but in that case, they would be very unlikely to take action if the alleged victim says there was no harassment, since their role is to protect the victims of sexual harassment--if the supposed victim says she was not harassed, there is no need for protection, and almost no likelihood of winning any case without the victim's testimony in support of it, anyway.


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