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  1. #1

    Default Accused of Racial Harassment

    My question involves labor and employment law for the state of: California

    I'm not actually sure where this post belongs because it was my upstairs neighbor who filed a racial harassment complaint against me through our mutual workplace. (Our workplace also owns the building we live in.) I have contacted building management on multiple occasions over the last 4 years citing the unusual and loud noises coming from the apartment above me (usually between the hours of 10p-2a). They, in turn, told me that I had to call the police who would provide management with the reports, which would then prompt management to write a letter to the offending resident. While I don't feel noise complaints should be the police's responsibility, the building management said they would not take action otherwise. (I did try talking to the neighbor first before calling management. I'm a short girl with a soft voice but I didn't manage one calm sentence before he became offended and aggressive. I immediately walked away.)

    Today, an investigator emailed me to set up a time for a 2 hour interview. Aside from the general language in the email, the following was included:

    ---------------------------

    As you may recall, I’m investigating the following allegations:

    [Tom] alleges that you have been making regular noise complaints against him since he moved into the apartment including a complaint on June 1, 2020 that resulted in police officers arriving at his residence in response to the noise complaint.

    In addition to the 6/1/20 incident, [Tom] said in his interview that you contacted police on four other occasions to report a noise complaint including Christmas Eve 2018. He also said you have repeatedly banged on the pipes.

    It should be noted that [your employer] has not drawn any conclusions about these allegations and is seeking to determine whether the alleged conduct is more likely than not to have occurred, and if so, whether it violates the Interim Executive Order 1096.

    ---------------------------

    Based on her message, I already feel guilty. This is so incredibly stressful! Yes, I have made noise complaints! If that is the alleged conduct, I am guilty. I'm so confused. How is that wrong? What exactly am I being accused of? How should I react? Have I already been found guilty? I thought I was being accused of racial harassment, but am I now being accused of complaining about a loud neighbor? How do they determine if I'm guilty? I feel like no matter what I say, it will be twisted around, making me guilty of racial harassment just because I've complained that he's a loud neighbor (and race couldn't be the furthest from the truth although a very small part of me does feel that if he were female, our first conversation would have resolved the entire issue. Is it wrong to think that?).

    Edit: I should also note that I'm in the process (since before his complaint) of filing a civil harassment order. Not only has he been making unusual and loud noises often during the hours of 10-2a, he has also flooded my apartment in an attempt to intimidate and most recently, attempted to assault me physically. I feel like his complaint is another attempt to intimidate and harass.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    Default Re: Accused of Racial Harassment

    The investigator is doing exactly what he is supposed to do - a complaint has been made and he is looking to see if there is any validity to it. You have not been found guilty and it is just as likely, at this stage of the game, that the investigation will determine that you have done nothing wrong as it is otherwise. Relax, answer questions truthfully, try your hardest not to be defensive (easier said than done, I know) and let things play out.

    They can't investigate without talking to the people involved. You're not the only one they'll be talking to. Try not to stress.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    865

    Default Re: Accused of Racial Harassment

    Regarding the noise I would suggest a couple things you might try in the mean time:

    1. Try to find online any noise ordinances for the city you live in and search for language that addresses residential noise levels.
    2. There are free apps you can download for smart phones and tablets that measure decibel levels. What you are looking to measure are noise levels about 3 feet below the ceiling with doors and windows closed. First measure the ambient noise when the neighbor is quiet, and again when you feel the noise is excessive. Keep a record of dates, times, and decibel levels. Usually these apps will give you average decibel levels as well as highs and lows.

    It’s possible that keeping records over time might eventually help you to justify the validity of your complaints.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
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    Default Re: Accused of Racial Harassment

    Quote Quoting caligrl238923
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    Today, an investigator emailed me to set up a time for a 2 hour interview.
    Is this a police investigator or someone employed by your and your neighbor's employer?


    Quote Quoting caligrl238923
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    the Interim Executive Order 1096.
    You understand what we don't know what this is or what it says, right?


    Quote Quoting caligrl238923
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    Based on her message, I already feel guilty.
    Why? Guilty of what?


    Quote Quoting caligrl238923
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    Yes, I have made noise complaints! If that is the alleged conduct, I am guilty. I'm so confused. How is that wrong?
    Ummm...what would make you think that it's wrong?


    Quote Quoting caligrl238923
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    What exactly am I being accused of?
    "Accuse" and "allege" are pretty much synonymous, and the blurb you quoted from the email says, "[Tom] alleges that you have been making regular noise complaints against him." So it seems like this is a question to which you already know the answer.


    Quote Quoting caligrl238923
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    How should I react? Have I already been found guilty?
    These are really bizarre questions to ask of anonymous strangers who have no information about your situation beyond what you told us (and therefore already know). The blurb you quoted said that "[your employer] has not drawn any conclusions about these allegations." Also, in the legal world, "guilty" is a word that only has meaning in the context of a criminal prosecution, and nothing in your post suggests that is occurring.


    Quote Quoting caligrl238923
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    I thought I was being accused of racial harassment
    Why? Nothing in your post up to this point (other than the subject header) suggests any racial element to any of this.


    Quote Quoting caligrl238923
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    How do they determine if I'm guilty?
    Who are "they"? Your employer? You don't seriously think anyone here knows anything about your employer's policies and procedures, do you?


    Quote Quoting caligrl238923
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    a very small part of me does feel that if he were female, our first conversation would have resolved the entire issue. Is it wrong to think that?
    We have no conceivable way of knowing whether your rank speculation has any merit.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Accused of Racial Harassment

    I'll answer in order:

    • It's an investigator employed by my employer.
    • I don't know what it is either which is why I'm so confused. But, I gathered it has something to do with racial harassment.
    • Guilty of complaining about the noise of which I am guilty.
    • I'm questioning if it's wrong because of the investigator's statement implying that it's wrong.
    • Yes, I already know the answer to that question. I have complained about the noise.
    • Re: "context of criminal prosecution"... that's why I'm confused about the whole situation.
    • Because it was mentioned in a previous email from the same investigator regarding the same situation but not in this email, which has me so confused because the way it was stated in this email already makes me feel guilty because I did complain about the noise. If this is really about racial harassment and not just complaining about noise, I feel it was cruel that the investigator left out the racial harassment. Sorry, I'm rambling now. I just can't think.
    • "They" as in the investigator.



    I've never been in a situation like this. If they find in his favor of the false allegation, it could jeopardize my job. I feel like complaining about noise has automatically made me guilty of racial harassment. How do I argue against something (racially motivated) that I didn't do? I'm shocked at the accusation and can't think clearly. Thank you for all the replies. I've been trying not to stress and have been recording the noise.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
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    4,099

    Default Re: Accused of Racial Harassment

    It is likely your coworker said that you complained about the noise BECAUSE of a racial reason. I would assume your position would be that you would have complained about the noise no matter the race of the coworker.

    Unless there were other coworkers of a different race making noise the same way and you didn't complain about them or you said something to the coworker or employer that raised the race issue you should have nothing to worry about.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    Massachusetts
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    Default Re: Accused of Racial Harassment

    To be honest with you, I don't see anything in the investigator's statement that implies you did anything wrong. He is stating the facts; "this is what I am investigating. This is what "Tom" has stated." He is telling you what the complaint is so that you can be prepared at the time of the investigation.

    He also went out of his way to assure you that no one is considering you have done anything wrong right out of the gate. That is what the investigation is to determine. This is a fact-finding mission, not a trial and sentence.

    I realize it's difficult. But try not to read more into it than is there.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Accused of Racial Harassment

    Quote Quoting PayrolGuy
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    I would assume your position would be that you would have complained about the noise no matter the race of the coworker.
    Yes, exactly. Race never even crossed my mind, although it's all I think about now.

    Quote Quoting cbg
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    This is a fact-finding mission, not a trial and sentence.

    I realize it's difficult. But try not to read more into it than is there.
    Right, I'll try not to read more into it. Thanks!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
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    2,431

    Default Re: Accused of Racial Harassment

    Quote Quoting caligrl238923
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    I'm questioning if it's wrong because of the investigator's statement implying that it's wrong.
    What statement would that be? According to what you quoted, the investigator said exactly the opposite: "[your employer] has not drawn any conclusions about these allegations."

    Honestly, I'm not sure what you think anyone here can do for you. None of us know what the "executive order" to which you referred is,** and we have virtually no relevant facts. If you have questions about the investigator's email, respond and as him/her (not "them").

    ** - Based on a google search, I have a suspicion what it might be, but confirming that suspicion would require you to identify your employer, which you shouldn't do.

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