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I have been falsely accused at my new job for harassment;

Customer Question
I have been falsely...

I have been falsely accused at my new job for sexual harassment; then, this person's cell phone ends up in my coat pocket: I returned it back to this person. This lead to my work checking the cameras, however, there are no cameras in the area where we keep our belongings. This person claims that their phone was with them the entire time, yet it was placed in my coat pocket? I have now been terminated. How should I go about this? I feel that this is some form of defamation, am I correct?

Lawyer's Assistant: Because employment law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?

New Mexico

Lawyer's Assistant: Has anything been filed or reported?

I started this new job last Monday; the next day I came in my supervisor gave me a warning of sexual harassment, which was very surprising to me because I have never had this issue before, and this was the person training me on my first day that is the accuser. It was done and over with, I kept my distance. Then, a few days later the cell phone incident occurred. I was told that this incident would be looked into; I worked yesterday and today I was fired with the only explanation being that "your (my) story doesn't match up".

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

I believe the accuser was upset that I didn't make an advance; the person is younger and is in a position of authority. She is a supervisor.

Submitted: 4 months ago.Category: Legal
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Answered in 7 minutes by:
3/8/2018
Lawyer: LegalPro54, Lawyer replied 4 months ago
LegalPro54
LegalPro54, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 14,405
Experience: General practitioner with diverse legal experience.
Verified

Hello and thank you for entrusting me to assist you. My name is ***** ***** I will do everything I can to answer your question.

I am very sorry that this happened to you. As a general rule, employment in NM is "at will" absent an agreement to the contrary. At will employment can be terminated for any reason not amounting to discrimination on the basis of a legally protected trait (race, religion, gender, etc.) or retaliation for engaging in certain forms of legally protected conduct (filing a wage claim, taking FMLA leave, etc.). It doesn't matter whether the basis for termination is fair, reasonable or even true.

This means you could be terminated based on the false belief that you stole something, or based on a false allegation of sexual harassment. Trying to turn around an allegation of sexual harassment by alleging that the other person was sexually harassing you would be extremely challenging. After all, if they were upset that you rebuffed their advanced, why would they have claimed that you were sexually harassing them in the first place? A defamation claim would be extremely difficult, too, since you would bear the burden of proving that someone made a false factual statement about you. It is very hard to prove that you "didn't do something," since you are forced to prove a negative.

Perhaps most importantly, by pursuing any sort of legal claim, you are creating a permanent public record of this dispute. Right now, you were only employed a few days. You could simply move on and leave this job off your resume. No prospective employer would know about this termination or the circumstances surrounding it. But by suing, you are opening the matter up and creating a permanent public record that would be searchable by future employers. It seems like there is little purpose in that, especially when any possibility of a successful legal claim is so remote.

I hope that you find this information helpful and am genuinely sorry if it is not what you were hoping to hear. Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

* Disclaimer *

Just Answer is a venue for informational and educational purposes only. No attorney-client relationship is formed by these communications.

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Lawyer: LegalPro54, Lawyer replied 4 months ago

Hello again,

I just wanted to followup because this question was still open and I have not heard back from you. Was there anything more I can do to assist you? Did you get a chance to review my answer to your question? Please let me know....

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DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

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