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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
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Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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Hello, My husband was wrongfully accused by a female employee

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Hello, My husband was wrongfully accused by a female employee of sexual harrasment yesterday. My huband swears he has not done anything or said anything in appropriate. We do not know what exactly he is accused of. His employer told him not to come in today and to go to headquarters on monday morning to hear what he is accused of. We want to know how to prepare or what we should do at this point. Molly
Hello and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question. Can you please tell me if your husband has an employment contract, or if he is a government employee? This will allow me to better answer your question.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
He is a classified school employee full time - with out a contract. He works for an orange county school district. The accuser is a teacher he works side by side with in a classroom setting with children. ( 1 teacher with 2 aids - he is an aide).
Thanks for the additional information.

First, you should know that the district is not required to divulge the full detail of the allegations against your husband during the investigatory stage. An investigation is simply that and the district will try to establish the facts before taking further action.

You should also know that California law requires an employer to "take all reasonable steps necessary to prevent discrimination and harassment from occurring." (Cal. Gov. Code, § 12940(k); Weeks v. Baker & McKenzie, 63 Cal. App. 4th 1128, 1146, 1174 (1998).) If the district fails to investigate a claim for harassment--even one that does not appear legitimate--it may become vicariously liable for the harassment. This means that simply because your husband is being investigated does not mean that there is legitimate evidence that he has done something wrong. The district may simply be exercising due diligence, as required by law.

School districts typically have a written policy setting forth the procedure for investigating a claim for sexual harassment. Check the district website and see if such procedure is contained in the Board Policies or any sort of published collective bargaining agreement.

For individuals who have been falsely accused, it is probably within their best interest to cooperate fully with the investigation, as they only stand to gain illumination of the truth. Assuming that he has not attained "permanent status" at the district, he may be freely discharged, typically. The district may also regard failure to adequately cooperate as grounds for termination or discipline.

I'm sorry that you and your husband have to go through this. If he can prove that the alleged victim has made false statements about him, he may have a civil claim for defamation for which he can collect damages. The damages would be especially significant if he were to lose his job.

I hope that this information assists you in deciding what to do ,and I wish you the best of luck.

If my answer has been helpful to you, please click on the GREEN ACCEPT button directly above. I will not get credit for assisting you or receive payment for my work unless you do this. Your question will not close after you click "accept," and you will still be able to ask follow-up questions if necessary.
The only facts I know about your situation are the ones that you tell me, so please try to be specific and bear in mind that, occasionally, miscommunications will occur. I will do everything I can to clarify my answer if I have misunderstood your question. Also bear in mind that the law does not always read how we think it should. I ask that you be understanding if an opinion I have provided is not consistent with what you wanted to hear.
Finally, the information that I have provided is not legal advice. I am not acting as your attorney and my answer does not establish an attorney-client relationship between us. I encourage you to consult with a local attorney in regard to legal matters.

Patrick, Esq. and other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you