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Sexual Harassment


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#1 karmel_ladi67

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 10:48 AM

If a person was given a complimemt by a co-worker such as "I like that shirt your wearing, thats nice (woman)" and the person responds back "Thank you sweetie, I like your hair. You really have long pretty hair (man)". Is this grounds for the woman to file a sexual harassment complaint against the man because he called her sweetie and complimented her on her hair. It wasnt said in a derogatory or flirtatious way, its just the way the person talks being friendly. Keep in mind the woman and the man have had prior conversations in general. They both are married. The woman got upset because the man stopped having general conversation with her and told this to the mans supervisor. She stated that she was mad because he stopped talking to her. The next thing was she filed a sexual harassment complaint against him.

He was called to HR to state his side of the conversation which he did. This was on a Tuesday, he didnt hear from HR until he went to work Thursday and was told he was terminated. He went back to the HR on Friday to ask for copies of his statment and was told that he couldnt get them because they were confidential information. He has not documentation of the charges against him. Does he have a case against the employer for wrongful termination and being charged with sexual harassment?

They both are state employees with ******.

Edited by FindLaw_AHK, 15 February 2013 - 10:54 AM.
This post has been edited to remove personal or identifying information. -Moderator


#2 Guest_FindLaw_Amir_*

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 10:59 AM

You may want to visit the Employment Law Center and read Sexual Harassment as a good resource to learn more about this subject matter. I also suggest you read: Wrongful Termination Claims to get a better understanding about your rights. For further clarification on your specific situation, you may consult with a local Employment Lawyer to advise you on your claim.

#3 Fallen

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 10:36 AM

"Is this grounds for the woman to file a sexual harassment complaint against the man because he called her sweetie and complimented her on her hair."

No, but people are stupid, I'm afraid. And even if he'd made a blatantly obnoxious remark, a single instance of X isn't viable grounds to pursue a complaint.

Employers are free to be stupid as well, I'm afraid, and they don't have to give him documentation (you may be thinking in terms of what must happen in the event of a criminal charge).

"Does he have a case against the employer for wrongful termination and being charged with sexual harassment?"

No, but he may have a case against this woman for lying about him if she did (if she told the truth and the employer decided to do X, that's not actionable).

If he's a public government worker, he needs to look to any relevant civil service regs that might protect him.

I'll echo PG's advisory "warning" with a twist: (Many) legal issues are complicated. Explanations and comments here might not fully identify or explain the ramifications of your particular problem. I do not give legal advice as such (and such is impermissible here at any rate). Comments are based on personal knowledge and experience and legal info gleaned over a quarter century, and every state has differing laws on and avenues to address most topics.  If you need legal advice, you need to consult (and pay) a professional so that you may have someone to hold accountable.  Acting on personal and informational advice from a stranger on the internet is a bad idea -- at least not without your own thorough due dilience/research and confirmation as it applies to your situation.  :)


#4 Tax_Counsel

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 02:49 PM

Does he have a case against the employer for wrongful termination and being charged with sexual harassment?

They both are state employees with ******.


That single exchange of compliments is not sexual harassment. If this was a private employer, however, clearly the employer had the right to terminate him unless he had an employment contract, or was a union member that had a contract, with the employer that would bar termination in this situation.

When the employer is not a government agency, then the employer may legally fire you for any reason (or no reason at all) except for a few reasons prohibited by law. The prohibited reasons include firing you because:
• of your race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or genetic test information under federal law (some states/localities add a few more categories like sexual orientation);
• you make certain kinds of reports about the employer to the government or in limited circumstances to specified persons in the employing company itself (known as whistle-blower protection laws);
• you participate in union organizing activities;
• you use a right or benefit the law guarantees you (e.g. using leave under FMLA);
• you filed a bankruptcy petition;
• your pay was garnished by a single creditor or by the IRS; and
• you took time off work to attend jury duty (in most states).

Government employees get a little more protection that most private company employees because the federal and many state governments have civil service rules that set out how and when an employee may be terminated. He'd want to consult those rules to make sure the agency followed the proper process if he's a state employee.

As for access to the statement made by the other employee against him, how and when he can get that depends on the applicable state law. In general, private employers do not have to make all of the personnel records about an employee available to the employee. There are a few states that do have such a requirement. So, if the complaint was in his personnel record and he was in one of those states, he might be able to get it just by making the proper request for it. Again, government employees tend to have more rights under civil service rules for access to their files. It may be that the actual complaint is protected and the state won't disclose it without a court order. But if he were to sue the other employee for defamation, he might be able to get the court order needed to get the complaint. He'd need to discuss that with a civil litigation attorney.




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