Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: Who is Telling the Truth?

Claudia Barrios

It seems the topic of sexual harassment has been all over the media these days. From the hottest stars in Hollywood to the Justices of the Supreme Court, sexual harassment allegations have been an area of focus. As a result, employees appear to be making more accusations against their employer as far as sexual harassment in the workplace. The question is, how do we know who is telling the truth?

In the past sixty days, we have received more sexual harassment cases than in the past five years we have been established as a company. It is evident that the talk on the media has pushed many people to speak up. Now is this just a coincidence or have these victims found the confidence to come forward?

Attorneys have hired our company to conduct investigations involving sexual harassment allegations in their client’s workplace. As an unbiased party it is our job as private investigators to uncover the truth. In these investigations it is important to try and obtain as much information as possible in order to determine whether the allegations are valid or invalid. In order to conduct our job thoroughly we must speak to both, the accuser and the accused. We begin with interviewing the accuser. As investigators we pay close attention to details and the claims the individual is making. We then move on to interview the accused. We must question them about these allegations and try to find what they think of these statements being made about them.

In order to carry out a proper investigation, we must not only interview both parties but also all other employees in the workplace. Their feedback is key in our investigation. This is one of the most important aspects of conducting the investigation as it gives us more information as to who the accuser and accused are as individuals and their character. Additionally, we must determine the kind of relationship the two parties have in the workplace. As private investigators, we need to understand who these individuals are and how these allegations came about. We must ask if as colleagues they were friendly with each other or if their relationship was strictly professional. Interviewing all other individuals in the workplace also gives a better insight as to how the work environment is as a whole.

How can we determine whether the allegations have any truth to them? Once we have conducted interviews and have a better idea of who these individuals are, we must then question the motive. The motive is the intention behind the actions taken. Both individuals can have a motive that we must examine. Although, it is often believed the accuser is the victim in the situation we must still take into consideration that these allegations may be false.

There are many reasons why one would accuse someone of such behavior if the accusations are false. The individual can be money-motivated, power-driven, or simply seeking revenge. If one party is making these accusations about another party, they will surely receive some compensation out of it, if the allegations are found to be true. Another factor to take into consideration when determining if the accusations are true is the status of the accuser’s citizenship in the United States. Believe it or not, there are many cases in which we determine the accuser is trying to receive a longer stay in the United States as their immigration visas reach their expiration date. In claiming these allegations while on an expired visa, it is likely that the individual will receive an extension on their immigration permits. These are all elements we must consider and establish whether or not they pertain to our case.

Now on the other hand, if the allegations are true we must then try to determine the motive of the accused. They can be abusing their authority, wanting dominance, or may be going through personal problems. All of these can be factors as to why anyone would propose such behaviors onto someone else. Having authority over another individual is a very powerful thing. It makes the other party feel intimidated and this can be another reason as to why the situation occurred.

Now in determining why these actions were taken we need to look into further details of each individual. More than likely the interviews of the other employees is what is going to help in the deciding factor of which individual is telling the truth. Most of these individuals will be expressing similar statements. If an employee from the company states that the accuser was not a reliable person and constantly had ulterior motives, then the claims they are making probably do not have any truth to them. However, if we determine that the employees do not trust the accused then it is possible that the accusations being made against them are factual.

As private investigators we have to establish a story with facts that will all lead to the truth. It is our job to determine the validity of the claims each party is making. More often than not, we have a clear picture as to what happened in the situation with the information we gathered and the statements that we took from each party involved. All these different steps lead us in the right direction so we can ultimately uncover who is telling the truth.

Author: Claudia Barrios