These are very real facts of life for the majority of us. As these types of pressures increase so to does our ability to communicate and get on with our fellow colleagues. The array of emotions and frustrations of life can play out each day in our relationships with those we work with and for. For most the time in work is filled with good humour and gossip for others the pressures of working with people who you don't get on with can be difficult and ad to the problems one may have. In real life not everybody gets on or likes each other, this is normal but should never affect the work that you're paid to do.
These issues can be added too by having someone in a senior position who may also be suffering from the effects of work related stress or is someone maybe not qualified to be in such a position or is just not a great leader, this then makes the working relationships extremely difficult and challenging.
In my experience those that are subjected to acts of being falsely accused of something often work in areas where there is a lack of leadership and overall sense of instability within the working team and environment. These false allegations can stem for example from such issues as staff members putting others down for their work habits at meetings when the other person isn't there, or going so far as to make allegations out of spite and jealously. They are then further exasperated when or if the individual/s are faced with having to back up their claims, this can result in further stories and lies being told. All to often with firm management these issues can be sorted and even rectified from the moment they begin but when they are not then the trouble begins.
When a false allegation is made all involved have to account for their roles including the senior manager who now faces attention in regard to their inability to deal effectively with such issues before they develop, this may well result in the senior staff member covering their own back and supporting the lies being told. At times it may well be an issue driven by a Manager in order to make themselves look important or be seen to be working or out of insecurity in their own position if the person is more qualified than themselves.
If a situation arises and gets to this point it should be made clear to all what the process is in regard to dealing with such allegations and how it may well effect all involved if it continues on a formal path. There should be a cooling off period in which those parties making allegations can consider what in fact it will mean to do so. I need to make it very clear again at this point that this entry is in regard to those making false allegations and not those who are truly suffering as a result such incidents as bullying and harassment. The policy by which those making false allegations are dealt with needs to be discussed and the person appointed to investigate the allegation needs to be impartial, if not the case is wrong from the start.
Nearly all to often in my experience the vast majority of those on the receiving end of false allegations are Males colleagues with the allegations coming from Female colleagues. However, false allegations can be seen in many areas of employment and between all sexes, an example could be those in the Police Services who are continuously at the wrong end of false allegations by those out to make money and seek revenge etc, or those working in such areas as Prisons and Places of Detention who may face false allegations due to their working position. Allegation of sexual harassment against a man can also be a problem as they can be easily made and have long lasting consequences that are difficult to prove, even when fought and found to be unfounded there is always a level of guilt attached in the minds of some.
The best way to fight such malicious and horrendous allegations is to challenge the liars to repeat their allegations in court, certainly by all means go through the unions, seek other alternatives but in my experience you have to fight for your name and your reputation and if it means getting those that chose to lie into a witness stand to do so then that's the way to go (after all other options are explored from as early as possible).
There is one thing that always stands to those at the wrong end of a false allegations and that is the truth. It will often come to light that you may be responsible for certain minor infractions within your work, such as leaving early on a Friday or not having your paper work up to date, this trivial information will all come to light when those making false allegations are pushed against the ropes in an investigation, these issues maybe used in a feeble attempt to put blame on you, as it is easier at times for an employer to get rid of you than it is to challenge those not telling the truth. My advice is Never be swayed by such trickery, accept you where wrong apologise but never back down from the truth and always challenge the real lies being said against you.
If after the Unions are finished and little can be done seek out a good Solicitor who knows about employment law, in fact your union should have a solicitor for this. From the very beginning demand every allegation in writing, take your time with this as liars in such circumstances find it difficult to keep up the pretence. Start to catch them out line by line, respond in writing including copies for your Union and legal advisor make sure this is indicated on your responses so everyone knows you are going to the very end with this, Keep your responses short and directly challenge each lie, always finish with how upset you are, how these are false allegations and how this affects you and your family. Seek a good counsellor to support you and to also support your case if taken for emotional abuse.
All to often you may have to accept that you won't get these people to court, the employer will want to end it and will want rid of you. Never accept anything other than all of your wages and an exceptional reference before going. You may well then want to take separate legal actions against each individual, for me I think it's best to just walk away if you can, those making the false allegations will never be trusted again, your employer will know that they too were taken advantage of but can never show it, however, they will always have a black mark against each of the staff members involved, eventually these people tend to move on, if the organisation is big enough they will move throughout but will never amount to anything. You on the other hand have learned a valuable lesson, never get involved in such things as bitching even if everyone is doing it, never get to friendly with those you work with, never, never drink with your workmates and always keep a diary. Now these might seem like strong measure to take but you will have to judge the place you work for yourself, most will know if these measures are necessary.
If you're experiencing anything like this it's vital that you take some power back, try and find a solution very early on that in no way compromises your innocence, research everything related to your policies and labour law, look for information on your rights, talk on forums with those in the same position, start forums if you find non, seek legal advice from an experienced workplace lawyer, use your union to their full extent, never attend a meeting with your employer alone, never respond to anything unless you have a written copy of what you're replying to at least 48hrs prior to any meeting, take your time responding, appreciate your family and friends for supporting you. Try and let go of the need to seek revenge and the hatred you have towards these people as this will eat you up inside.
Always remember you are not alone, there are thousands of people everyday accused wrongly in their workplaces, some are extreme with two and even three people ganging up on one person but if you have the truth you will always win and take back your life.
This article does not reflect every possible false allegation case or every employer. People need to also be responsible for their own part big or small in conflict, but it does give an insight in to some of the difficulties faced and lessons learned that can be followed. Contact me or share your story for others to learn from.