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How does credibility determination impact harassment allegations?

When there are allegations from an Iowa employee that his or her employee rights were violated and harassment has been taking place, it is often one person's word against another person's word. This can be complicated for the employer to determine what happened and conclude how to handle the situation. Workers have the right to be free of mistreatment on the job. If there is any kind of mistreatment and harassment whether it is sexual, race-based, gender-based or for any other reason, it could be the foundation for a legal filing.

People who are dealing with any violation of employment law should be cognizant of how credibility determinations are made and what impact it will have on how the case will be resolved. The employer will need to weigh how credible the people are in the case. The factors that will be considered include inherent plausibility, demeanor, if there is a motive to make false statements, if there is corroboration available and the past record of the employees.

With inherent plausibility, the decision must be made as to whether the testimony given by either party is believable and if it makes sense. The demeanor of the person must be assessed to gauge whether he or she is being truthful or not. If there is a motivation to provide false information such as a dispute between the workers, a contentious relationship or for some other reason, this can be considered. Witnesses are often the determinative factor in a case of harassment and corroboration can be critical. If there were others who saw what happened and testify to that fact or can provide physical evidence, this can make the difference. Finally, if there is a past record of incidents with either party, the employer can consider it when deciding whom to believe.

Many issues will be part of this process. For example, just because harassment might have happened in a previous case does not mean it has happened in the relevant case amid the allegations. If no one saw or can testify to what is alleged to have happened, it does not mean that the complainant is lying. Since harassment frequently boils down to one person's word against another's, it is imperative to have legal protection from the start so the alleged victim will be prepared and know what steps to take if there is indecision or a stalemate with the employer. A lawsuit can handle workplace discrimination in all its forms and a law firm experienced in these matters can help.

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