Cleared of Sexual Harassment Charges

Question:

I was finally cleared of the sexual harassment charge. I was told that I would be on suspension for one week, but only after a day, I was called back. I did sign a disciplinary action form that mentions I would be terminated the next time something like this happens. The girl was terminated and my superiors expect her to sue. I am so happy that everyone in my office signed a petition in my favor and some of my superiors wrote letters to corporate praising my performance over the years and that they never saw any harassment occur in the office. My final question would be, what now? If she does sue, what would my involvement be? Can I breathe a sigh of relief now? Thank you for all your help.

Signed,

Feeling Better


Answer:

DearĀ Feeling Better:

As we always mention, we aren’t attorneys so we have no legal training about these issues. We are able to give reasonable advice about most workplace issues, which is what we tried do to in your situation. I’m glad the matter was resolved favorably for you.

If the former employee decides to sue she will most likely be suing your employer because that would be the entity that could pay damages if she was successful in court. There attorneys will handle the matter and will work with you if you have to testify. They may settle with her in some way to avoid any of that. Whatever they do, I’m sure you’ll be kept informed when it is happening.

If I may add some advice now that this has calmed down a bit:

1.) Continue to refrain from talking about this except as needed. Some employees may want to bring up the subject, joke about it or say negative things about the former employee. Don’t do it! Have a few set phrases you can say, such as, “I’m just glad it’s over and we can put our focus back on work.” Or, “I’m sorry it happened and I’m glad we can stop talking about it and get back to work.” Or, “I don’t know why Mary did what she did but I think the worst is over now and I’m happy to get back to work.”

2.) I don’t think you need to feel paranoid about the issue, but remember that some employees may be more likely to notice what you do and say to women than they did before. You certainly don’t want any further problems from a disgruntled employee.

3.) You may want to thank a few people for their support. Do that without sounding bitter over what has happened. Just tell them that recent events help you realize how important professional colleagues and friends are. Best wishes to you in the future. It’s obvious that you are valued by many others at your work–which is more than many people can say!

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.