QUESTION: Whether I am or am not let go, do I have any recourse towards the accuser for slander or defamation of character?
ANSWER: Yes, such false allegations would typically give rise to a cause of action for defamation against the accuser as well as tort claims for interference with business relations, or related claims. The primary issue in these type of cases is often whether you can prove the statements are false, either through direct evidence (such as witnesses), or by circumstantial evidence, such as attacking the accuser's credibility such that it is more likely than not the statements were false.
Is there any action I can take against the company if they don't come back and give me a fair opportunity to defend myself against these accusations?
ANSWER: No, there is normally no recourse against a private employer as employees of private companies do not have a right to due process of law as would a public employee, unless the employer provides such a right by contract.
Am I entitled to be provided with the findings of their investigation regardless of the outcome?
ANSWER: No, but if suit is filed against the accuser, the documents can be subpoenaed.
If I am unfairly let go, will future employers be able to find out that I was let go for sexual harassment or would it simply be noted that I was terminated from my position. From the companies perspective, is there exposure to a lawsuit from this person greater if I am let go versus if they choose to allow me to continue to work there?
ANSWER: Yes, there is typically greater liability to the employer if you remain than if you are terminated unfortunately. If you retain an attorney to communicate with the employer and accuser, that could aid in balancing out the situation and the threat of litigation may even motivate the accuser to retract the false statements.
Worse yet, is there legal or criminal implications for me personally?
ANSWER: No, accusations of sexual harassment, unless involving sexual assault, do not typically give rise to criminal charges.
I work for a major corporation in New York. It is crazy to me that anyone can make up something about you and ruin your good name and livelihood. Is there anything out there to protect the falsely accused?
ANSWER: Retain a local employment law attorney with experience in this area. That can aid in preserving your career, even if not this job, it could save your reputation in the long run.
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