These days, more and more people are alleging they have been the victim of sexual misconduct in the workplace. Such allegations are very serious, as they can majorly affect the life of the accused even if the allegations are eventually found to be unsubstantiated or even false. Nevertheless, the issue of sexual misconduct has not gone unnoticed by the Arizona House of Representatives, which acted on this issue last month.
A bill has been passed by the Arizona House of Representatives that would affect those who claim they have been victims of criminal sexual misconduct. Under House Bill 2020, even if a person alleging sexual misconduct signed a non-disclosure agreement with regard to a civil settlement, that person would still be permitted to discuss the situation with police or give testimony should the incident be criminally prosecuted. The Arizona House passed the legislation unanimously.
The representative behind this bill claims it closes what she calls a "sexual predator loophole." According to her, currently, those who claim sexual misconduct are forced to stay quiet about the matter, which allows those accused of sexual misconduct to avoid being prosecuted.
Allegations of sex crimes, particularly those in the workplace, can be extremely damaging to the accused's personal reputation and professional career. It could cause a person to lose their job even if they are not guilty, and, if they are found guilty, they could face incarceration. This could affect them for the rest of their lives, even after they have served their sentence. Those who have a criminal record may find it difficult to obtain a job or find housing, especially when a criminal background check is performed. Therefore, those who are being accused of sexual misconduct or other sex crimes may want to seek the help they need to develop a solid defense strategy.
Source: 12news.com, "Arizona House unanimously approves ban on sex harassment non-disclosure agreements," Feb. 16, 2018