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What Is the Burden of Proof for Sexual Harassment Cases?

Published on Nov 4, 2021 at 1:22 pm in Employment Law.

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In recent years, sexual harassment cases have gone up. Whether this means it’s happening more is debatable, since this could mean that victims are more willing to speak up now than they were before. This could be a good thing because it means victims feel stronger and less suppressed from reporting their harassment. However, most of the time it’s still hard for victims to actually see justice because of the burden of proof.

The burden of proof means that even though you’re the victim, you’ll need strong evidence to prove the claim that you’ve made. When it comes to sexual harassment, that can be hard. That’s where having a lawyer is crucial—they’ll compile your evidence and ensure your case is as strong as possible. You’ve experienced something terrible, and the burden of proof can make that experience even more difficult, but your attorney will work to get you justice.

What Makes Sexual Harassment Cases So Difficult

Typically, sexual harassment cases are so difficult to file and win because they can be hard to prove. If there isn’t evidence, or firm evidence, that the sexual harassment happened, then it can feel impossible to get justice. This might make you feel discouraged to report or take legal action against the person who sexually harassed you, which is how many people feel.

Oftentimes with sexual harassment claims, you don’t have physical proof, or you don’t know if you have enough evidence to prove what you’ve experienced. This can be hard to obtain, but when you hire a lawyer, they’ll be able to help you gather any evidence you might have and help you take steps to prove the exact mistreatment you experienced.

There are two types of sexual harassment cases: quid pro quo and hostile work environment. In a quid pro quo case, your superior offered a raise, promotion, or some other kind of benefit in exchange for sexual relations. In a hostile work environment case, you experienced harassment or an uncomfortable work environment because of sexual misconduct.

This could be sexual or uncomfortable comments, or any kind of unwanted physical and sexual conduct in the workplace. Hostile work environment claims can be harder to prove just because they require more proof, because you need to prove this is a pattern of behavior.

Unfortunately, this leaves the burden on the victim when they just wanted justice. At McMath Woods P.A., we understand how frustrating all of this can be. That’s why our employment lawyers are here to help you build your claim and support you through every step.

Types of Proof in Sexual Harassment Cases

Since it will be you and your lawyer’s job to collect firm evidence that proves what you experienced so that you can combat the burden of proof, you’ll need to know exactly what kind of evidence will be most beneficial for you to present. For example, saying that your coworker or boss made a sexually inappropriate comment verbally might not be enough evidence. But if you have a recording or written record, then that would be helpful.

Here are the different types of evidence your lawyer will help you collect so that you have a strong case:

  • Photos or videos
  • Audio recordings
  • Text messages
  • Phone calls and records
  • Emails
  • Complaints to management or human resources
  • A written account or journal entries that you wrote down
  • Police report
  • Medical records
  • Records from psychiatrists, counselors, or social workers
  • Witnesses

One of the main points of your evidence will be proving a pattern. Firm evidence of just one instance of an inappropriate comment or even inappropriate advances unfortunately might not be enough. When you’ve been collecting evidence of the behavior over time, even though that means you’ve had to endure the mistreatment and harassment over time, you get more proof to show you’ve been sexually harassed.

When you have one of our attorneys on your side you can feel supported. We’ll also ensure you are comfortable every step of the way because this can be an emotionally difficult undertaking.

What An Attorney Can Do for You

As mentioned above, the evidence collected surrounding your sexual harassment case will help you combat the burden of proof that falls on a victim bringing a case forward. In these cases, many times it will be your word against theirs. So if the person you claim sexually harassed you denies it happened, then the judge or jury could have trouble deciding the truth.

That’s why you need evidence. An attorney will help you identify what evidence you have, and help you collect it so you can have the strongest case possible to prove what happened to you. Not only will we help you determine what evidence you have of the harassment, but we will help reach out to witnesses to get their statements as well.

We can also work to compile your emails, text, phone calls, and any other records you have, like medical or psychiatric, to show exactly what physical and emotional damages you’ve sustained from the entire experience. You shouldn’t have to go through this alone, which is why our employment attorneys are here to help you.

McMath Woods P.A. Will Fight for You

Sexual harassment cases aren’t easy. Whether it’s the burden of proof making it harder, or just the severity of the content making it hard for you to proceed, at McMath Woods P.A., we understand how sensitive this time is for you. We’re here to help you in your most vulnerable time to get you justice.

Our employment lawyer will stand up to your employer so that you are compensated for what you’ve endured. Reach out to our office today so that we can get started working for you right away.

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