What to do when you are falsely accused of making inappropriate remarks of sexual nature?

UPDATED: Apr 1, 2011

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What to do when you are falsely accused of making inappropriate remarks of sexual nature?

I have been recently suspended from work for the above accusation (and for making generally derogatory, demeaning and disrespectful remarks). There is an investigation on-going. Management stated that it has been reported that I made these kind of remarks to my staff. I was in shock when they confronted me about this. I know that the statements are false and truly believe this is a personal attack which constitutes defamation of character – both by management and those who made the initial false statements. When I was issued the investigatory leave document, there were no dates backing up incidents of such accusation. What should I do?

Asked on April 1, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, New Jersey


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

First, the bad news--unless you have a contract which limits grounds for suspension or other action (e.g. demotion, termination), you are an employee at will and may be suspended--or face other consequences at any time, for any reason, including mistaken reasons. So if you don't have a contract, then you pretty much may be suspended without recourse.

(Another exception though would be if you believe  that you yourself are being discriminated against in employment on the basis of a protected characteristic, such as race, sex, religion, age over 40, or disability; if so, you may have an employment discrimiantion claim.)

The good news is that you may have a defamation claim against the company and/or the people making these accusations. Defamation is the public (to any other people) making a false statement of fact that damages someone's reputation or makes others less likely to work with them. If you believe that you have been falsely accused of having said or done things which you did not, you might be able to make out a defamation claim, and should contact a personal injury attorney or employment attorney (since it's in a work context) to explore.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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