For some, a sexual harassment lawsuit is a chance to make a quick payday regardless of the facts in the matter. For New York business owners and top executives that are accused of harassment, it can do damage to their reputations as well as their bank accounts even if the allegation is false. The first step in defending against such a claim is to meet with an attorney who has experience handling such cases.
An attorney should have as much information as necessary to successfully defend a client. This may mean that a manager or owner should reveal any text messages or conversations that may have been misinterpreted as sexual in nature. However, those who are accused of harassment should not reach out to their accusers. Even if it is just an attempt to explain what happened, it could be taken out of context and used against the alleged harasser.
In some cases, it may be seen as a continuation of the harassment or an attempt to coerce an accuser. To reduce the odds of a sexual harassment claim, individuals should do their best to be transparent and to keep conversations at a professional level. If necessary, they should limit how much time is spent alone with employees behind closed doors .
Employers may need to take several steps after a sexual harassment claim is made regardless of why it was made. For instance, they will need to avoid unlawful retaliation such as firing or demoting an individual after a claim has been made. Furthermore, they will likely benefit by only talking to an attorney about the case. This may limit the opportunity for a company to compound the damage done by a false or misleading sexual harassment claim.