Does an employee have the right to see the allegations in writing so they can defend themself against a sexual harassment claim?

I have a friend who was told that they are on suspension with pay due to being investigated for a sexual harrassment allegation from someone that doesn’t even work for the company anymore, however, the employer refuses to give this friend any proof of the supposed allegations.

Asked on December 10, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

No, there is no right to see proof of the allegations, or to get the allegations in writing. The protections that apply in court do not apply to employers, so they don't need to prove their case, as a general matter, or provide an opportunity for the accused employee to defend himself.

If your friend believes that he himself is actually being discriminated against (on the basis of, for example, sex, race, religion, age over 40, or disability), or is being retaliated against for having filed some protected claim or complaint (such as about sexual harassment or for overtime), or that actions are being taken against him in violation of some contract or employment agreement he may have, then he may have a legal cause of action. If he sues and the issue of his alleged sexual harassment comes up, in the course of the litigation, he could then seek evidence about it.

But unless there is actual legal action taken--not just discipline, suspension, or termination at work--he can't necessarily see the proof or documentation.


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