Have You Ever Been Falsely Accused?

I have, and it’s not a pleasant experience.

In November of last year, I was falsely accused of sexual harassment by a male coworker. I’m female. This man was one of a handful of men in an office full of women. He became known as a misogynist, and had been embroiled in many conflicts with female coworkers, once he even threatened to kill a woman but wasn’t fired for it. Once I got to know him after I started, I saw him for what he was and I just flat out quit speaking to him. Several other women wouldn’t speak to him, either, because of their own experiences with him. A year after I stopped talking to him, he out of the blue filed a sexual harassment complaint against me. He claimed that I had attempted to kiss him, and after being rebuffed by him, that I started treating him badly at work. Of course, I’d never been alone with him and there was no evidence that I’d done anything inappropriate. To the contrary, there was plenty of evidence that he had been harassing women in the workplace, but nothing ever came of that. After three months, we were both informed that the case had been dismissed due to lack of evidence. The senior partner of the company took him aside and strongly encouraged him (confidentially) to stop being such an asshole. The next day he put in his notice, and now he’s gone. It’s such a relief to myself and the other women he had problems with to be able to walk around the office freely and comfortably.

When I was 18, I worked in a gas station/mini-mart. After the busy summer season (beach town), I was informed that I was being let go due to the fact that I’d been drinking beer in the cooler while on duty. Never mind that there was no evidence of it, or that I had never drank in my life at that point. Nope, you gotta go, right now.

When I was 25, I worked in an insurance office as a receptionist. After 6 weeks, I was informed that I would not be hired permanently due to the fact that I’d been stealing money from the office. Never mind the fact that the money was kept locked, I didn’t have a key, and in fact I didn’t even know (or care) where the money was kept. Nope, since I’d been the last one hired, I must be the one that took it. I left quietly, but now I wish I’d handled it differently. It probably did look like I took it since I didn’t make a scene. But I was so shocked at being accused that I really didn’t even know what to say. I’m sure whoever did take it got away with it and even now, 12 years later, everyone that worked there still thinks I took that money.

From these experiences, I’ve learned that it’s very easy to accuse someone of something, but often very difficult to prove that you didn’t do anything wrong. They have somewhat lessened my trust of people, and definitely strengthened my resolve to “cover my ass” when anything happens that could in the future be construed as inappropriate in any way. I’ve learned that some people will attempt to make you a scapegoat in order to deflect suspicion of themselves, and that your behavior at work must remain exemplary at all times. It’s often your history that will tilt the balance towards you or against you.

And… you?

It happens to my husband all the time. Right now, he has five pending lawsuits against him. He works for the state prison system, so this is actually perfectly normal. (I don’t know anyone in his position who doesn’t have multiple pending lawsuits.) We’ve never lost one, and even if we did, we wouldn’t be held personally liable unless it was proven that he grossly violated his employment rules.

One of them is from a woman who claims that my husband is ageist, which is why he didn’t promote her. Interestingly enough, the candidate he did promote is older than she is. Another is from a man who claims he didn’t get a promotion because he’s black. (During that same month, Hubby promoted three other African-Americans.) Two others are from inmates who alledge discrimination for various reasons.* The last is a suit brought by a woman stating that she’s been denied promotion because she’s female, and claims my husband said in a class he teaches that women are, by nature, incompetent. (Luckily, we have about fifty witnesses to the contrary.)

It used to bother him greatly to be accused of racism, sexism or ageism but he’s grown a lot tougher skin over the last few years. He used to worry that people would believe these allegations against him, but realized over time that not many pay attention to it, and everyone around him knows his integrity.

I’ve been wrongfully accused myself, and I know how it stings. Mostly, it was customers who claimed I said or did things that I did not, in hopes they’d get something for free, I suppose. Some of the allegations were so bizarre, I don’t even know where they could have come from. For example, one woman accused me of “cussing out” her kids while she was in line at my register. (Though my bagge stood up and vouched for me, I was still written up for the incident.) Another time, a mentally-disturbed woman threw her donuts at me and then accused me of eating them.

The worst, though, I was accused by my manager of stealing twenty dollars from my register till. We weren’t allowed to count our own tills, but had to give them to a cash office, so I don’t even know if the money truly was missing. I was only sixteen at the time, and when they said I had to sign a confession or be fired, I signed. (They also refused to allow me to have a copy of the statement, so for all I know, I confessed to kidnapping the Lindburgh Baby.) I was put on the Register of Shame, which was a 10-items-or-less line. Anyone accused of stealing was put on it for about two weeks so security could watch them constantly. It was humiliating.

*One of them may be the suit brought by an inmate who claimed he was disciminated against by being housed on the second floor. You see, the popcorn machine was on the first floor, meaning that by the time he got there, the popcorn would be gone and he’d have to wait for the next batch. I could be wrong though. It might have already been dismissed, Honestly, I don’t pay attention much any more.

About ten years ago I worked part time at a liquor store. One day a long time customer told the manager that I had shorted him $5 in change. Since my drawer was not $5 over that day she accused me of pocketing the money. I begged her to believe me but since he was a long time customer she took his word over mine. The next day he called to apologize and said he found the missing $5 in his coat pocket. I was relieved that I was off the hook but it sucked knowing that someone thought I was a thief, if only temporarily.

When I was 15, my mom and I were shopping at a major department store. We had bought a bunch of school clothes for me, and Mom asked me to take the bags to the car before we went to lunch. As I was leaving the store, the electronic security buzzer went off. I stopped, and a security guard came running over and grabbed me by the arm, dragging me (and my armfull of shopping bags) over to a nearby checkout counter. I was scared to death - I knew I hadn’t stolen anything! I asked the security guy to have my mother paged, which he refused to do. He proceeded to frisk me (in public) and go through my purse. Then he started going through the multiple bags, matching each purchase with the receipt. He finally found the blouse with the inventory control tag that should have been removed, checked the receipt again, took off the tag and told me “You can go.” No apology, nothing. I was in tears by the time I got back to my mom. She proceeded to return all of the clothing we had purchased, explaining to a manager in each department why the items were being returned.

My mother was the senior secretary for an 11th Curcuit Court of Appeals judge. When she got to work the following Monday, she told her boss the story.

We ended up settling out of court because the department store kept delaying things. After we paid the lawyer I got a few thousand dollars out of it.

Nothing as serious as some that have been mentioned already, but I was accused by a teacher of breaking a door in the science lab.

The teacher in question was a maths teacher I’d had for all of a semester. I rarely even showed up to her class, let alone gotten into any sort of dust-up with her, so why she did this is still beyond me. But someone slammed open one of the doors to the science building at my school (all doors at my school were glass top and bottom with a metal bar in the middle), and it shattered all over the place. And somehow, she got to the principal and told him that I was the one who did it. I nearly got in a bucketload of trouble too, except for the fact that this happened during a lesson when my geography teacher busted me and a friend over in the shopping centre across the road, and he vouched for me.

I always hated the lazy-eyed bitch after that, and was glad when she left.


Once I was training a new intern and part of the training was to take a medical history. That was part of one of the programs, and that’s how the intern trained me the previous year. Part of it was that once the medical history form was in the hands of the patient, you are to NEVER, EVER touch it. We walk them to Medical Records, and they hand it in themselves with us interns never seeing or touching the forms.

I asked her to fill out the form, and she asked if she had to. I said yes, as the intern who trained me told me that was part of the training. Fast forward about a week. Suddenly my boss calls an emergency meeting with the other directors of the program saying that the trainee accused me of taking her medical records and looking at them which violates her patient (but really intern) confidentiality rights. I told them that I did not ever touch a medical history form and that I did not question her personally as to whether she was a victim of sexual assault. Where did that come from???

In brief, they put a mark against me in my records and assigned her to another intern to shadow for the rest of her training. When I wrote her a letter asking her why she said those things, I never received a response. What was the chick’s problem???

In the same office, I also worked as a receptionist. The programs were being merged and as a result, a number of the interns and the employees felt that the care that the community would receive would diminish because of that.

So to try to prevent this, we passed around a petition against the merge. Coincidentally at the end of that quarter, everyone who signed the petition was let go/encouraged to leave. One of my bosses who signed the petition who had started the program 15 years prior received a large salary cut for some reason, and had to quit because of it. The interns who signed the petition were encouraged to not come back the next year.

I signed the petition, and coincidentally was fired during the summer as the receptionist for ‘breach of confidentiality’ and not being a ‘good role model’ (how in the hell are you a role model in an office of interns?). If they really had a case against me, then why did my boss ask me to fill out an availability form for the next quarter and tell me she was looking forward to seeing me next year, then in the middle of summer, fire me? When I e-mailed that boss, she informed me that she could not tell me over e-mail in detail why I was being let go or describe the circumstances that brought her to the conclusion that letting me go was the best idea.

When I e-mailed her again asking for specifics, she said that I should come into the office to talk to her. Of course being a young, insecure second year, I never went in because I was ashamed of what I was being accused of.

And get this, even though I was fired for breach of confidentiality, they asked me to come back as an intern. Remember that this is an internship where I was accused of reading a trainee’s medical history form. So they were accusing me of looking at confidential forms and not being a “good role model”, yet they were asking me to come back and keep interning where I would have access to medical records? :confused:

Not a big one in the greater scheme of things, but it pissed me off quite a bit at the time.

My 8th grade algebra teacher accused me of cheating on a test. At the time, my grasp of algebra was pretty shaky, so during the test I figured out the answers using logic and quick arithmetic (for example: a plane has 52 seats, charges $100 for coach and $150 for first class, and receives a total of $5800 with all seats full, how many first class seats are there? I tried 50 and 2, then 40 and 12, which was the correct answer). Later, she pulled me aside and asked how I got the answers. My response didn’t satisfy her, so she gave me a zero on the test. The thing was, at no point did she ever use the words “cheat” or “copy”, so I thought the zero was for not showing the proper work or doing the problems the right way, which I accepted and explained to my parents (they weren’t happy about it, but they sat me down and made sure I understood the right way to do it next time). I had no clue I’d been accused of cheating until they came back furious from a parent-teacher meeting three weeks later.

The kicker? I got a higher score than anyone sitting around me, so she had worked out this complicated scheme with the seating chart about how I copied answer #1 and #6 from this student, #2 and #9 from that student, #3 and #4 from this one over here, and so on. This helped in convincing my parents of my innocence.

I got a chance to re-take the test after school with nobody around me, and got an even higher score than before (plus, since my parents had straightened out my math, I could show all my work). Never heard a word from the teacher about it one way or another.

My father (a teacher at the high school) though, busted her balls about it for years after. When another teacher congratulated him on the college I’d gotten into, he noticed the algebra teacher nearby and said, “yeah, but he probably just cheated his way in.” :wink:

This is pretty lame, but I was accused of sleeping during some historical Civil War film with the most boringest narrator ever. The teacher basically just popped it in the VCR and voila, no teaching to be done that day. Now that I think about it, the rest of our time in that class was spent doing “outlines,” in which we had to flip through the book and outline what each chapter and section was about. What a horrible (non)teacher. But I digress.

He probably saw me closing my eyes a couple of times, so he tried to threaten me with a detention. I was a pretty straight-laced kid, never had a detention. I told him I didn’t sleep, so he implied that I was lying but then ultimately backed down. What an ass. You can’t blame kids for sleeping during boring films with the lights down. Especially kids who get up for school at 6:30 in the morning.

Once when my brother and I were little (probably 5 & 6, respectively) my mother found a dried-up little Fred Flintstone vitamin in the carpet. She immediately started to freak out about how we should never, never! take pills without her permission and she asked which of us had been into the vitamins. Both of us denied it. She kept on asking and we kept on denying until finally she told us to get in the car, she was taking us to the hospital to have our stomachs pumped. She was bluffing, of course, but it scared the bejeebers out us. She actually had us out in the driveway before I decided to “confess” and save us both.

I later retracted my confession, but by then it was too late. Nobody believed me, and my brother wasn’t even grateful. Sometimes, I think of having it carved on my tombstone: Dung Beetle/ 1970-whatever/ “I did not eat the vitamins!”

Now, the time before that, when we chowed down on the Excedrin, that time we were guilty. Pretty hard to deny it when you’re standing naked in the tub puking up chunks of pills.

I hope the guard was fired. And by “fired” I mean “dropped into a lava pit.”

A dumbass worker accused me of being prejudiced because I didn’t like him. He said I was prejudiced against Italians. Based on what? I had made bad comments about Joey Buttafuco! This was during the whole Amy Fisher “Long Island Lolita” scandal. Since I’m the least prejudiced person on the planet, nobody took him seriously.

When the guy’s girlfriend was arrested and I commented on it, he said “Well, you’re going to be arrested too.” Based on what? I had thrown away some mail belonging to an ex-coworker who had been fired for stealing from the company.

When the same guy was accused in an annoymous letter of some awful stuff, he claimed I wrote it and he was going to sue me. Never did, though he said the sheriff had come to the office when I wasn’t there and gotten samples of my handwritting and my fingerprints. Since I knew the sheriff, I just said “And he didn’t tell me about it? Damn Ken.”

Some people are just plain assholes.

I’ve been accused three times of having my mom do my English homework for me. In two of these cases the teachers thought my short stories were too good to come from an elementary/junior high student, the last was a term paper. They said she wrote them because she’s a teacher. The thing is, she’s a third grade teacher, and is terrible at writing. I always had to proofread her tests for her to make sure there weren’t any mistakes.

My dad did my math homework, though, and I never got caught for that so it all evens out!

Not nearly as much as I haven’t been accused of things I’ve done.

Yeah, that’s how my balance sheet adds up as well.

A few years ago I had the best job in the world working for the school system, binding braille and large print books made from textbooks. I considered everyone there close friends, especially my boss.

Because I homeschooled my daughter I’d take the opportunity to study some of the textbooks during my off-times, just to keep myself up-to-date on subjects I knew we were about to tackle. I’d get teased a lot for studying quietly while everyone was gossiping or sneaking off to shop. Sometimes (with permission) I’d copy a few pages to take home for my daughter to supplement her own textbooks.

At the end of the school year we were cleaning out our desks and I threw in a big pile of newspapers on of my coworkers was throwing away. It was in the trash already and I’d planned to use it to line our ferret’s cages. On my way out, after hugs and “see you next year, have a great summer” three of these ladies I practically considered sisters stopped me and demanded that I empty my bag because they were certain I was stealing textbooks. I was so shocked and upset I dumped the entire bag onto the floor and ran out crying. I was devastated, and it was mostly because I loved these people and would never think to steal something from work, especially when I KNEW if I really wanted a textbook they’d let me copy it.

I should have fought it, should have made a bigger deal about my obvious innocence, but I couldn’t go back there the next year. When the boss called at the end of summer and acted like nothing happened I said I’d be in, but I never showed up.

I won’t go into a lot of detail because this is all still the subject of a pending federal lawsuit.

At my last job, I was manager for a national school bus company. I ran a 120 bus operation, employing about 150 people in all. As in any place that big, there were some people I loved and will never forget and a few complete tools.

One in particular was an african-american female, around 30 years old. We’ll call her Eve (MOST definitely not her real name). Eve is a highly conservative Jehovah’s Witness that had on a couple of occasions complained about another driver for violations of church law on the job. Stuff like photoshopping pictures of people around the place and adding santa hats, then giving them the pictures. Eve thought I should take a stand and tell her to stop, I told her to drop it.

Shortly after I stuffed a couple of Eve’s complaints against other drivers in boxes and thought she had the message that her religion’s tenets were not going to dictate how I ran my business, the real complaints started. The laundry list is way too long to go into here, but some highlights should give you a taste:

  • I was watching porn on my computer. Naked girls on my screen saver, in fact I was making a joke of it, pointing it out to other female drivers.
  • I was telling sexually suggestive stories about my own daughter.
  • I was having an affair with a younger, married driver. This one in fact, go so far that, after I came to this job, some 'anonymous" drivers sent my superintendent a letter saying that I not only had the affair, but that I got the girl pregnant, and she had to get an abortion, then had to take a job as a stripper and I ruined her life.
  • I encouraged open gambling and profanity.

While she’s peppering my VP with these accusations, which were all investigated and shown to be garbage, Eve is also being a huge pain the ass to everyone in the place. She’s being verbally abusive to staff, causing a ruckus with other drivers, and filing other BS complaints about things I’ve done that don’t even affect her. She’s amassing a paper trail that’s only going in one direction, to her eventual firing. With each subsequent letter to my VP, and eventually the Corporate HR and Legal people complaining about her record, she flings more crap into the burning Pile of Accusations.

One day, she finally gets the letter that says anything at all more from her disruptive to the workplace or interfering with my ability to manage, and she’ll be gone. I don’t remember the wording, I have it here somewhere. All I remember was that it was written by the Legal guy, I copied and pasted it onto my letterhead and sent it Certified/reciept requested. By this time, she was refusing to meet with me face to face without her posse in the room, so that was my way of communicating with her.
Days later, I’m manning the dispatch desk because everyone’s out grabbing lunch, and her and another driver are in the driver’s room, just over a wall from me. I hear he go on and on to this guy, detailing her tale of woe and how bad we’ve all treated her and how management keeps me propped up despite her “proving” all the accusations she’s made…

I pick up the phone, call the Legal guy and tell him.

“Fire her, I’ll dictate the letter and you put it on your letterhead”

Of course, this is just the start of the crusade. She filed a $500,000 fedearl lawsuit against the company and I. She didn’t find a lawyer to take the case, if you can believe that, so she’s acting Pro Se. The company hired a legal big gun to defend me and them together, and he’s a whiz. I’m off the case as a defendant, but still a material witness.

It’s been so far about 19 months of hell, and it may finally either come to trial, or summary judgement to drop sometime within the next few months. It can’t end fast enough for me.

Just today. I was falsely accused of stealing a lunch yesterday, and given that there has been a large number of people stealing lunches in the past, the assistant principal automatically assumed, with no evidence, that I was guilty and was suspended. I went in today to see the principal to appeal the ruling, showing that the so-called proofs that the accuser showed were flimsy (something that I was too flustered to do properly yesterday); eventually he agreed and let me off.

So yes, I got lucky.

A.R. Cane’s account of the false accusation he got wrapped up in is positively chilling. Do a search on that and see how ugly it can really get.

I was falsely accused of calling a coworker in the dead of night and talking dirty to her.
Turns out she couldn’t guess the caller on the first four tries and her fifth guess was my name. The caller simply “admitted” that he was me, and she believed this creep!
My boss instantly recognized that she’d fooled herself, but it took a lie detector test to make her shut up about it. Once she’d bought into the lie and spread it around she didn’t want to retract it.

I was accused of rape, twice, two different women, two totally different situations. I had never even seen these women without a shirt. They were just angry and they both knew that they could “get back” at me for what ever dumbfuck thing that they felt wronged over.

One of them was when I was in college and there was a sorority chick that was to come over and plan a mixer with my fraternity. It turned out that she was mentally unstable and had been kicked out of her sorority. We planned the mixer, she wouldn’t leave, I left my appartment, she got mad and told the campus police that I had tried to rape her. They called me, I showed up, they told me what was going on, put me in a room, the gustapo crap ensued. They wouldn’t let me call anybody. Would not let me leave. I then proceeded to tell them that my aunt was a criminal lawyer and if they didn’t let me call somebody they would have her entire firm crawling up their asses.

I was dialing her number when the leader of the sorority came up there and proceeded to scream at them. Apparently crazy lady had done this to many students, professors, janitors. They knew it too. They kicked her out of school.

The second one I don’t want to talk about, but I will say this. It was even more bogus than the previous one was. I wouldn’t date a chick and then she had the idea that she would get back at me by telling the police that I had raped her. A real police department had no trouble picking out the bullshit, and popped her with filing a false report.