I was falsely accused and now I am constantly being harassed about it. What can I/my employer do?

I was accused of sexual assault, but my employer found that the incident was not sexual assault based on video surveillance. I had asked the accuser to move because she was in the way of me finishing my work. When I moved around her, she said I touched her inappropriately, but the video shows I never touched her. The accuser’s family member also works with us and is now harassing me at work about why I still have my job, telling me I can’t go into certain areas in the workplace, etc. She was told by our employer to drop it and leave me alone. She is saying things to my coworkers about me while I am just trying to do my job, which I’ve been at for 25 years, but now I’m at the point where her constant harassment is causing issues with my health. Isn’t there something my employer can do? I work in a restaurant in NY, so we don’t have an HR department. I am at the point where I just want to quit because I fear getting a heart attack from how angry I get from this harassment. What can I do besides leave my job?

1 answer  |  asked May 26, 2019 9:24 PM [EST]  |  applies to New York

Answers (1)

V Jonas Urba
Keep a notebook about what others are saying about you. When you get off your shift record the approximate times, witnesses and the exact statements that were made. Do not report anything unless it becomes severe or pervasive. Usually things that happen over and over again and you can identify dates and times in recent past. Not being nice is not illegal. Being discriminatory is.

If you are physically threatened either at work or off work you can go to the police and ask for an order of protection. I have seen employees in New York lose their jobs for threats at work which police and judges took very seriously. Those orders are not just for domestic issues.

Report ALL offensive conduct by others if severe or pervasive (keeps happening over and over). Whether based on race, sex, national origin etc... remember that no one can be retaliated against for reporting something they believed was inappropriate or discriminatory to them or others.

If this complaining employee is thinking of leaving for another job or wants your job DO NOT retaliate. Go through the proper channels. If no HR then report to your supervisor or owner if severe or pervasive.

Don't make yourself the business' problem. That's the problem with hiring family members which many New York businesses like to do. They become or make themselves domestic dispute employers because whatever issues the family might (there might be an agenda that these 2 family members have which you do not know about) have become the issues of the business. No separation.

Seek out the advice of an employment lawyer. Possibly look for another job. Quitting is usually not recommended. And filing a stress claim under workers compensation should not be done until you have consulted with and hired a workers compensation lawyer. Make sure you lawyer up before filing any workers compensation claim if you attempt to do so. Those are not simple or easy to do. Good luck!

posted by V Jonas Urba  |  May 27, 2019 06:28 AM [EST]

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