What can I do if an ex-employee is accusing me of creating a hostile work environment?

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What can I do if an ex-employee is accusing me of creating a hostile work environment?

She says that’s why she left. However, 9 months prior to her resigning, she filed a sexual harassment claim that was proven false. Then she interviewed for a promotion about 2 weeks ago and didn’t get it. Her first accusation is that she didn’t promote because of the prior sexual harassment claim. Second, she used to be a friend and knows about a relationship I had in the past (with a co-worker). She now claims that she feels I targeted her because she knew about that relationship. Neither allegation is true, but internal affairs is investigating it. I have been on administrative leave (paid) for 4 days and now they want me to come in for an interview. What should I expect?

Asked on May 12, 2014 under Employment Labor Law, Oklahoma

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

If internal affairs believes her allegations, you could be fired, or suffer anything less than termination (e.g suspension, demotion, transfer, reduction in pay or hours, etc.): what she is accusing you of is sexual harassment in the workplace, which is illegal. If you don't come in for the interview, they can do that, too, so come in; tell your story truthfully and calmly; consider retaining and bringing an attorney (consult with an employment law attorney); and bring any documentation that may help you.

Afterwards, if they find against you and you believe it unwarranted, consult with your employment lawyer about whether you have grounds for a lawsuit against the company. Win or lose, consider and consult with a lawyer about suing the woman for defamation.


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