What are the rights of someone accused of sexual harassment?

My husband is being accused of sexual harassment by a customer and is being suspended from work. Does he have the right to know his accuser? Can he sue the accuser for slander, defamation of character, and lost wages?

Asked on August 26, 2011 Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

1) Your husband has no rights to not be suspended, unless there is an employment contract guarantying a certain process or procedure for suspensions. He also has no right to face his accuser, unless he sues her (see below). Due process and the constitutional protections (right to face accusers, etc.) apply to courts, not to private employers and their job decisions.

2) If he believes that the allegations made against him are untrue, he may have a cause of action for defamation, since defamation is the public making (so to even one other person) of untrue factual statements which damage a person's reputation and/or cause others to be less likely to work with him. If this is the case, he may be able to sue for lost wages and other damages. Your husband should consult with a personal injury attorney.


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