Innocence is no Defense
The political correctness mania within the field of sexual harassment has reached new heights of outrage.
At one time it was "Innocent until proven guilty" then as PC became (jackboots and all) more prevalent it became "Guilty until proven innocent" and now, in the 21st Century the sexual harassment PC witch-hunts have reached new heights "Innocence is no defense"
"Innocence is no defense" is the brazen claim made by the employers wishing to sack two (female teachers). The two teachers had won a court case to be re-instated but the employer took the case to the Supreme Court of Texas, and in the Supreme Court of Texas the employer introduced the latest PC theory "Innocence is no Defense". The employer brazenly stood up in the Supreme Court and said "It does not matter whether these teachers are innocent or guilty". The employer did not even attempt to present evidence to prove guilt, so certain were they that they could sack these teachers absent actual evidence.
The Judge stated:
It must be remembered that nonrenewal of a contract of employment is tantamount to a termination or a firing in the private sector and as such, has been described in the annals of labor law as the "capital punishment" of the employment world. Therefore, any such decision, because of the taint attendant thereto, must be based on actual behavior of the employee, not upon innuendo and rumor. No manís livelihood should be taken away unless such action is warranted based upon fact, not fiction.
A MOST DISTURBING PRINCIPLE ADOPTED BY THE EMPLOYER
Under the theory upon which the school district here sought to non renew these teachersí contracts, it was announced at the outset that it was immaterial whether the allegations were true or false.
The only issue, according to the school district, was whether the teachersí effectiveness had been diminished by the allegations. Under this theory, it would be futile for a teacher to try to prove his or her innocence. The teacher loses either way.
The full court hearing is available online, linked from the Mens Civil Rights Organisation site. The website is dedicated solely to describing false accusations of sexual harassment.
Yes, the employers admitted, we breached our own guidelines in terminating (non-renewing the contracts of these two female teachers)
This case is just one in which the courts are having to rein in overzealous employers desperate to demonstrate their PC credentials to the world.
PEASTER INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT vs Glodfelty and Dobbs the Texas Court of Appeals (Fort Worth)
Case docket NO. 2-00-145-CV.
For PDF copy of court hearing click here. You will need Acrobat Reader to view this court case.
Ex Professor Renzulli wins $5.3 Million after bogus sexual harassment accusation
Professor Renzulli gave one of his students a zero mark on a mid-term exam. Her father was chairman of an organisation that were a major donor to the university. It was claimed in court that Renzulliís employers threatened him with a bogus sexual harassment case to persuade him to change the grade.
Professor Renzulli suffered a nervous breakdown and attempted to commit suicide after these accusations.
Renzulli sued his ex-employer for harassment and retaliation. FDU claimed Renzulli was "overly sensitive" and further claimed it could not be found guilty of harassment, because there had been no type of "adverse employment action" taken against him, as required by recent Supreme Court decisions. However, the jury believed that the public witch hunt was a form of adverse employment action and found the institution liable for $5.3 million in damages: comprising $3.5 million in punitive damages, $1.25 million for pain and suffering and $595,000 in lost salaries.
The Chronicle of Higher Education reported that
The New Jersey jury's verdict in favor of ex-professor Renzulli, says that the university threatened him with a charge of sexual harassment when he tried to expose a "grades for sale" scheme in 1997 involving the daughter of a university donor.
What heinous deed had Renzulli committed? What was he accused of?
Well the student accused the professor of using the word "pussy" in class and of failing to allow another professor grade her final exam. The university responded by threatening him with a sexual-harassment charge. In the court hearing Renzulli explained that he had not used the word "pussy" but instead had read aloud a letter in which Theodore Roosevelt called Woodrow Wilson "pusillanimous," or cowardly, for not entering World War I in 1914.
Just the accusation of using the word "pussy". And on this accusation the university interviewed all students on all of professor Renzulliís classes to ask if they wanted to accuse him of sexual harassment.
Renzulli suffered a nervous breakdown under the pressure and attempted to commit suicide. He then entered therapy and took disability retirement.
One thing is clear from this case. The stress of an accusation of harassment far exceeds any stress caused by so called harassment itself.
Another fact bluntly clear is that an employer can seriously over-react to the threat of financial loss. Whether a financial loss is caused by a contributor pulling out or as is more common the perceived risk of lawsuits from a female is immaterial. A frequent result is employer over-reaction and the consequence a shattered career for an innocent man.
A woman who was fired for refusing to file a false accusation of sexual harassment against a colleague at work was awarded over $300,000 after a successful lawsuit against her ex-employer.
Ms Laurie Thorson, was a trainee at the Medford branch of the state of Oregon Support Enforcement Division. Ms Thorson, a single mom, sued the state Department of Justice for wrongful discharge and violation of whistleblower-protection laws after she was fired for refusing to launch a false accusation of sexual harassment against a co-worker. The court heard that Ms Thorsens line manager had threatened to fire her unless she made a false accusation of sexual harassment.
The court stated "In a wrongful discharge action, refusing to make a false allegation of sexual harassment against a fellow employee fulfills an important societal obligation, and an at-will employee may not be terminated for such a refusal"
Judge Philip Arnold found in her favor at the close of all of the evidence, concluding that plaintiff had been wrongfully discharged for refusing to file a false sexual harassment report against another employee
Laurie Thorsen stated that a trivial incident was blown out of proportion by management. The male co-worker, who was written up and censured, now works for a different state agency, eventually filed a grievance and was exonerated.
The court heard Thorsen state "I wouldn't hurt him just to keep my job," she said. "But it did cost me my job, and it really hurt me. Everybody knew -- my friends and everybody at church -- that I got fired.
Click here for the full Court Hearing: Thorson v. State of Oregon (CO A106804)
If you would like to submit a case of false accusation of sexual harassment then either e-mail the case notes directly to the webmaster or add them to the discussion forum.