Workplace sexual harassment violates the law. But what's the best way to prove sexual harassment at work? A sexual harassment lawyer shares tips on building the strongest sexual harassment case.
What is Workplace Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment laws protect employees from requests for sexual favors in exchange for favorable treatment. This can include being hired, a promotion, a raise, or other favorable treatment. Known as "quid pro quo" sexual harassment, bosses and supervisors can commit this form of sexual harassment.
Unwelcome sexual advances in the workplace or harassment of a sexual nature also qualifies as sexual harassment. Any employee, including vendors, can commit this form of workplace sexual harassment.
The First Step When You Experience Sexual Harassment at Work
Experiencing sexual harassment at work can be stressful. It can also make you feel isolated, afraid, or angry. In most situations, the first step is clearly stating that the conduct is unwelcome. The strongest sexual harassment cases present clear proof that the harassment was unwelcome and unwanted.
If you feel uncomfortable confronting the harasser directly, inform a supervisor or your human rights department. You can also send the harasser an email or letter telling them to stop. It's important to put your complaint in writing.
Check Your Company's Sexual Harassment Policy
After experiencing sexual harassment at work, it's a good idea to check your company's sexual harassment policy. The policy, usually in the employee handbook, often explains the steps employees should take if they experience workplace sexual harassment.
Your company may be liable for the sexual harassment if they knew about it and did not address the harassment. By following the official policy, you can demonstrate that you notified your employer. Again, make sure to keep written copies of all interactions with human resources or your company.
Start Building A Sexual Harassment Log
A sexual harassment log is a written record of the harassing conduct. Write down every incident of harassment, unwelcome contact, or pressure for sexual favors. Be as specific as possible. Your log should include the time and place of each incident, what the harasser said and did, and who witnessed the actions.
Keep any evidence of the sexual harassment, including photos, texts, or even emojis. Save emails and write down conversations.
Keep Copies At Home
Always keep a copy of your sexual harassment log at home. You should also print out copies of emails from your supervisor or human resources for your records.
Do not leave the only copy of your evidence proving sexual harassment on your work computer.
Workplace sexual harassment can be traumatizing. You don't have to experience it alone. Seek support from your friends and family.
Also consider seeking professional support. During a sexual harassment trial, you can recover the cost of any counseling or therapy.
Call a Sexual Harassment Lawyer for a Free Consultation
At any point after experiencing sexual harassment, you can reach out to a sexual harassment lawyer. Many offer free consultations to talk about your case. A sexual harassment lawyer can advise you on whether to report the harassment to human resources, when to break from the company's sexual harassment policy, and how to collect the best evidence.
Your lawyer can also help you receive back pay, front pay, compensatory damages, and punitive damages. If you win your case, your employer must pay your attorneys' fees and costs.
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