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How Do You Prove Sexual Harassment in the Workplace?

Published on Jan 27, 2022 at 3:33 pm in Employment Law.

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The workplace should be a safe environment where you come to do your job and don’t have to worry about harassment of any kind. In many workplaces, that is a reality for their workers. Unfortunately, though, that’s not true for every work environment or even for every worker. Even if one worker experiences a safe environment at their work, another could be experiencing harassment.

One of the biggest questions when it comes to sexual harassment in the workplace is proving it. After filing a report and starting the process of a legal claim, your biggest concern will be proving that you were sexually harassed. Let’s take a look at how your sexual harassment lawyer will work to prove you experienced sexual harassment in the workplace.

Proving Workplace Sexual Harassment

Since it is such an integral part of your sexual harassment claim, you likely already know that proving you were harassed can be incredibly difficult. This makes sexual harassment claims harder to win because they hinge upon being able to prove the harassment occurred. In many times, it can be impossible to prove because there’s no record, no witnesses, and it’s just your word against your harasser’s.

In cases like this, there is a standard called the burden of proof that makes it difficult to prove your experiences. The burden of proof means that even though you’re the victim and reporting what happened to you, the case relies upon you proving that you were sexually harassed. This means you’ll need firm evidence in order for your case to go anywhere.

This is incredibly frustrating and demoralizing as a victim because you’ve already taken the step to report, which many victims find hard to do on its own. Then once you’ve mustered up the bravery to report the harassment and take a stand against your abuser, you still aren’t believed until you provide proof. This is one of the reasons many victims don’t report.

Even though it can be difficult to prove what happened, having a sexual harassment lawyer by your side through your claim will help ease that load and better enable to you combat the burden of proof. Here are some of the forms of evidence your attorney will use to prove you were sexually harassed, so you’ll want to focus on documentation as much as possible:

  • Emails
  • Texts
  • Calls
  • Audio recordings
  • Pictures received from them
  • Pictures taken of you
  • Videos of harassment occurring
  • Videos sent to you
  • Complaints you’ve filed with HR or your employer
  • Witness statements
  • Your own written accounts from journals
  • Police reports
  • Medical records
  • Records from any psychiatric help, like counseling or therapy where you discussed or reported your harassment

All of these can be used to document how you were harassed and prove that the sexual harassment happened. Documenting one instance on its own is important, but to have even more solid proof, it’s important to document every instance to prove that a pattern has occurred.

You can trust a sexual harassment lawyer from McMath Woods P.A. to not only prove you were harassed, but also ensure you are supported every step of the way. We want to make sure you feel comfortable throughout the process instead of adding trauma to your already difficult experience.

Steps to Report Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

In proving your sexual harassment occurred, one of the steps is reporting the behavior to your workplace. All of the evidence listed above is important in a legal claim, but it can also be crucial to collect and present when you are reporting sexual harassment to your management, human resources, or other higher up for your employer.

One of your first steps in reporting your sexual harassment will be filing a formal complaint to your employer. Every company is different, so you’ll want to find out your company’s policy for reporting sexual harassment and follow their protocols. From there, they’ll likely investigate your report and come to a resolution.

However, if your employer ignores your complaint or doesn’t come to the resolution you were hoping for, there are other avenues for reporting. You can also file a report federally through the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). According to the EEOC, you have 180 after the incident to file a charge through them.

When you hire a sexual harassment lawyer, they will guide you through these processes and ensure you are taking the right steps at every turn. They’ll ensure you are comfortable and supported so you can feel confident in your reports and in your workplace sexual harassment claim.

Examples of Sexual Harassment at Work

When you’re looking to file a report that you’ve been sexually harassed in the workplace, and you’re thinking about how you’ll prove what you’ve suffered, one of your first thoughts could be of doubt. It’s normal for victims to feel this way—victim blaming often happens and leaves a victim wondering if they were even harassed, or if they’re exaggerating what happened to them.

Even though you might feel this way, it’s not true. What you experienced was real. When you’ve been sexually harassed, you deserve justice and support because what was done to you was wrong. Let’s take a look at some examples of sexual harassment in the workplace so that you can feel validated and know that what you experienced was sexual harassment, and that you have every right to file a claim so you can hold your abuser accountable.

Here are some examples of sexual harassment at work:

  • Unwanted compliments or other comments on your appearance, like attractiveness
  • Following you around the office
  • Blocking your path or cornering you
  • Unwanted physical contact of any kind
  • Sending inappropriate texts, emails, pictures, and videos
  • Telling sexual jokes
  • Unwanted sexual advances, including repeatedly asking you on a date despite your rejection
  • Using sexual conduct as a way for you to get a promotion or raise

These are just a few of the actions that can be considered sexual harassment. If you’re still not sure whether or not what you experienced was sexual harassment, you can talk with your lawyer to validate your experience and determine if you were harassed and what actions you can take moving forward.

McMath Woods P.A. Is Here to Support You

A workplace sexual harassment claim can be stressful and leave you feeling incredibly vulnerable. As a victim of sexual assault or harassment at work, you don’t want to go through more trauma in your claim. At McMath Woods P.A., we understand this. Our sexual harassment lawyers are here to keep you comfortable while supporting you throughout your case.

Reach out to our firm so we can schedule a free consultation and get started working for you to get justice.

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