I am currently wrongful being accused of sexual assault that never happened and I am currently suspended. I am being investigated even though my supervisor nor the HR department never even talked to me about the situation. I have text messages, eyewitnesses, and can even get video recorded evidence to prove my innocence, but they won’t even talk to me. They are seemingly taker her word and only her word and running with it. I also feel like I am being discriminated against because I am male, while my manager and general manager are female. What do I do?
First, take a deep breath. Just because they haven’t talked to you yet, doesn’t mean they won’t talk to you.
Second, I would speak with an employment lawyer as soon as possible. Yes, this will cost you money. Yes, it is worth it. NELA can help you find an employment lawyer in your area.
Now, let’s go through what’s going on here.
HR has to take any accusation seriously. They are legally obligated to investigate any claim of sexual harassment. You said assault, which is a much greater accusation, and I do think the police should be involved if there was an accusation of assault. Not everyone agrees with me. But, for my readers, if you’re sexually assaulted by a coworker, the correct thing to do is call the police first and then HR.
What HR doesn’t have to do is prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty. They just have to act reasonably.
A responsible HR department will conduct a thorough investigation. That will mean speaking with you and listening to your evidence. Suspension is often the right thing to do during an investigation when the accusation is this serious. I would recommend suspension as well. I would also recommend paying you for the suspension if you are cleared and not paying if you are not cleared.
These things do take time. You know you are innocent and it’s super scary to have someone accuse you of something you didn’t do. You may wish to rush in and speak to all your coworkers and get them on your side. Don’t do this. It won’t look good.
Contact a lawyer, follow her advice. If you cannot afford an attorney, then write up an email detailing your evidence and send it to the HR manager. The subject line should be EVIDENCE RELATING TO THE [YOUR NAME]/[ACCUSER’S NAME] INVESTIGATION.
Make sure you send it from your home email and do not delete it. This prevents the HR manager from saying, “oh, I had no idea that this existed!”
And, start looking for a new job. I know you’re innocent. It’s possible to be found responsible anyway. HR managers aren’t not trained police officers. There is no judge and jury to sort out the evidence. And even if you’re cleared, you may find the environment unpleasant. I’m not saying this is how it should be–it shouldn’t. There should be no retaliation. But, there might be, and it’s better to start the job hunt now.