Three-Step Sexual Harassment Case Checklist
This checklist should help you make an early determination whether your might have a legitimate sexual harassment claim against your employment.
Were You Really "Harassed"?Harassment within the meaning of the law means "severe or pervasive" conduct toward the victim. It must be something more than one or two sexual jokes or innuendo. It has to be sufficiently egregious and offensive and it generally has to occur more than once or twice, although there is no set threshold number of incidents under the law, which are required to occur, before a claim can be made. Certainly, there is a difference between something as mild as "you are cute", "you are sexy", etc, and something as extreme as "I wish I could bend you over the table and show you who is in charge" or physical touching and grabbing. A mild conduct is often non-actionable as a sexual harassment claim.
Were You Harassed By A Co-Worker Or A Manager?If you were harassed by a co-worker, the only way that you could make a sexual harassment claim is if you complained about harassment and (a) the employer failed to do anything to remedy and prevent future harassment, and they allowed it to continue for a sufficiently long period of time and / or (b) they retaliated against you for making a complaint by disciplining you, demoting you or terminating you. There is no such requirement to make a complaint if the harasser is a manager or your manager. In this latter situation, the harasser's actions are considered to be the company's actions, and a claim can be made based on those actions alone without making any complaints first.
Did You Suffer Significant Damages?Having any legal case worth pursuing requires showing damages in a form of wage loss or emotional distress. Have you been fired in retaliation for making a sexual harassment complaint? Were you forced to resign because the harassment was so intolerable that you simply couldn't continue working. Did you suffer psychiatric or psychological injuries as a result of the harassment. Answering these questions is critical in deciding whether the claim is worth pursuing.