False claims of sexual harassment seemed like an easy case, until we discovered information that the employer hadn’t been able to find.
The case involved a woman’s claim of being sexually harassed in the workplace; she brought her complaint to human resources about a male coworker sending her lewd emails.
She gave the HR department copies of about 50 emails. Allegedly the emails started with mild comments on how nice she looked, then gradually became more explicit and graphically sexual in nature. The accused was called in to discuss the claims, and he said he’d never sent the emails.
He was placed on suspension and we were called into prove that he was the one that sent the emails. We had a look at his computer, but found nothing. Then we searched the woman’s computer, even though she said she’d deleted the emails because they were so upsetting.
We found all of the emails in question. She had been sending them to herself. Once we proved the evidence, she was fired. Her motive was simply that she disliked her coworker. They sat in close proximity and she simply didn’t like his mannerisms and the way he spoke on the phone.
This is a lesson for other companies to take note of: the evidence seemed irrefutable but in reality, was not. Changing emails happens frequently. In another case, a male looking for a job forged his own university degree and wrote an email to himself to look like it had come from the university, which he’d forwarded onto a recruiter who got him a job.
Once he was hired and started working, he changed his email address to the CEO’s and sent emails to payroll approving himself for a raise as well as bonuses on a nearly monthly basis.
It’s important that employers provide education to their employees about cyber crimes and how to prevent them.