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Who do I believe?

(9 Posts)
hradvice Fri 28-Aug-20 16:30:30

I've got a problem. One employee claims she was sexually assaulted (kissed) by another. He says they kissed consensually and she propositioned him but he said no.

She's upset that he denies it. He's upset that she claims he assaulted her.

No witnesses.

How do I arbitrate??

OP’s posts: |
Aquamarine1029 Fri 28-Aug-20 16:34:01

What a mess. Anything in their separate histories in regards to workplace issues?

hradvice Fri 28-Aug-20 16:37:15

No prior issues. Very much trying to to make assumptions based on their characters - too easy to do.

OP’s posts: |
Aquamarine1029 Fri 28-Aug-20 16:45:06

I honestly don't know what either of them expect you to do. Is the woman wanting this man fired? Did this incident allegedly happen at work?

Moondust001 Fri 28-Aug-20 16:51:10

No witnesses, and no prior history. There's very little that you can do. if you have cause to believe that one or the other is likely to be telling lies, then perhaps a "hard word" about conduct and not wishing to hear of any further issues. But you cannot easily decide on a "guilty party" or sanction them without any evidence of anything at all.

On the odd occasion when I have faced similar situations of he said / she said and I truly have no idea who, if either, if telling the truth about something, I have found it useful to remind people that employment law operates to a different standard of evidence than criminal law, so I don't need to know which person is telling the truth - it's perfectly "fair" in law to solve the problem by disciplining/ sacking everyone involved. It tends to concentrate minds on appropriate behaviour in the workplace....

hradvice Fri 28-Aug-20 17:08:45

Incident happened after work drinks. One party days in the office other days outside. Alcohol involved.

At the moment I've said we'll re it's both their statements and hold them on file should something happen in the future. But it's a small team so I can see this causing issues!

She wants him to admit it. He feels aggrieved. They both feel awkward. She's dating his denial is causing her stress.

I'm stuck in the middle!

I've made it clear that sexual harassment etc is not acceptable in the workplace of course.

OP’s posts: |
Moondust001 Fri 28-Aug-20 22:11:51

After works drinks is not work. Jeez this is why alcohol and work don't mix. It didn't happen in the office. It's nothing to do with work.

You are not stuck in the middle if you don't let yourself be. It is one persons word against anothers, about an incident that happened outside work time and where alcohol was involved. So they can either both make sure that you never hear anything again about any such matter, or there are plenty of people who are desperate to work these days who will happily do their jobs and not cause alcohol driven office dramas.

It's quite one thing to be clear that there are appropriate behaviours in the workplace; and definitely no woman should have any form of contact pushed on her. But this happened outside of work and there is no evidence of what happened. So they keep it out of the workplace, and if they stir it up in the team, they will both be disciplinary hearings. The worst thing you can do is get dragged into the drama.

hradvice Sat 29-Aug-20 09:31:17

Thanks for all the useful advice. Good to hear my instincts seem right. Here's hoping they'll be adults and out this behind them!

OP’s posts: |
HMSSophie Sat 29-Aug-20 09:35:12

Behaviour outside work does fall under harassment legislation I believe.

Offer mediation? Professional mediation can work wonders. Don't try to mediate yourself as they neither view you as neutral.

Tbh I'm more likely to believe her than him but I'm just jaded with male sexual behaviours

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