Houston, TX – While sexual harassment is a serious violation of workplace integrity and the victim’s rights, there are some situations where a business may not be liable after a lawsuit is filed. Just like many other legal causes of action, the employer has several defenses available that may cause the plaintiff to be unsuccessful. 

The accusations of harassment are untrue

In rare situations, the alleged victim may have made up or exaggerated their story and tried to utilize the legal process as a way to receive compensation with actually suffering from legitimate harassment. If the employer can use evidence to show that the conduct simply did not happen, the plaintiff will not be successful in their lawsuit.

Conduct that is allowed or encouraged by the plaintiff

If a worker has been voluntarily involved in certain inappropriate relations or instances of conduct with their superiors or co-workers, it will be difficult to show that any of the conduct actually rises to the level of harassment. This kind of inquiry can be highly dependent on the specifics of the fact surrounding the conduct in question, but a worker who participated in behavior that would be considered harassment cannot be a victim as well if they knowingly went along. 

Past misconduct

While most trials exclude evidence of prior bad acts by either party, there are some situations where the accuser’s past is relevant. The employer may investigate the plaintiff’s background to see if they have criminal charges, accusations or convictions for fraud or a history of filing similar lawsuits. Some of this kind of information can be used to show an illegitimate motive. 

The conduct is question was not illegal

Harassment must usually be severe or pervasive to rise to the level of creating a hostile work environment and being legally actionable. Something like one or two inappropriate comments may not be enough for a lawsuit, where one severe incident such as asking for sexual favors as a condition of employment would clearly be harassment. 

Specific legal advice is necessary

In most situations, it is necessary for the victim to get legal advice from an employment attorney to determine if they have grounds for a lawsuit. Sexual harassment cases are contingent on whether the specific behavior in question can meet all of the relevant legal requirements to win the lawsuit. For these reasons, a legal consultation is recommended before taking any kind of formal action. 

Employment lawyers in Texas

Moore and Associates is available to help local clients throughout the state of Texas with issues related to labor and employment law. Anyone who needs assistance can contact the firm for more information. 

Firm contact info:

Moore & Associates

440 Louisiana Street, Suite 675, Houston, TX 77002



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