Local News

He Said, She Said: Sexual Harassment Can Boil Down To Two Sides Of Same Story

Posted February 5, 2001 6:00 a.m. EST

— He said she said. Sexual harassment cases usually boil down to one story with two sides, but what kind of proof does it take to protect yourself?

Fayetteville attorney James Nance has been both the defender and prosecutor in sexual harassment cases. He admits, though, the most difficult cases to prove involve employees who file harassment claims against their employer.

"The success rate in terms of people who brought these claims and actually won is low," he says.

However, Nance says that does not mean people should back down if they suspect they are being harassed.

"Your closest friends need to know you're having a problem because they'll be attentive to it," he says. "They'll be watching for signs, and they'll be looking for things. Later, those things may come up as evidence."

County attorney Grainger Barrett says the sexual harassment and discrimination allegations made against the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office will be used as a learning opportunity a chance to figure out what went wrong.

In a memo to Sheriff Moose Butler last week, Barrett offered the following recommendations to the Sheriff's Office:

  • Discussing positive workplace relations
  • Training on workplace relations
  • Small group seminars for all supervisors on workplace relations and civil rights issues.

    "We redouble our efforts to make sure that there is no workplace discrimination or harassment amongst the employees of the Sheriff's department," Barrett says.

    Barrett says the sexual harassment claims made against the Sheriff's Office were not the reason for the new recommendations. He says they just provided an opportunity to make some much needed changes.