Studies have shown that around one in three women and one in nine men have experienced sexual harassment in a public place. Many more suffer from this problem in the workplace. In the US, sexual harassment is a serious crime, and victims can sue the offender. Because a harassment claim is hard to prove, it’s best to hire an experienced harassment lawyer.
What Evidence Do I Need to Prove Sexual Harassment?
Proving sexual harassment claims can be difficult because there is often little evidence. The victim has to provide proof that they suffered severe or pervasive harassment and that their work environment has been altered by the offender’s behavior.
Admissible evidence includes the victim’s account, the paper trail and recordings, correspondences with peers and other victims, and proof that a supervisor was aware of the issue. A good lawyer can help uncover and put together the necessary evidence.
Your Own Account
Sometimes, there is little proof aside from your account. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t be successful.
A good sexual harassment lawyer can help you figure out whether you have a case based on verbal communications and then file a sexual harassment lawsuit for you. They might also be able to uncover additional evidence that supports your case.
The Paper Trail and Recordings
Written communications are extremely helpful. If the person sent you emails, text messages, or notes containing inappropriate statements or information about the relationship between you and the alleged harasser, show these to your harassment attorney during the initial consultation.
The messages could be requests for a sexual favor, inappropriate compliments, or unwanted comments about your body, but they don’t necessarily have to be sexual. Repeated invitations to dinner and drinks, which you’ve rejected or ignored, also count as sexual harassment. Your lawyer for harassment might ask you whether the person changed their behavior towards you after you rejected their advances. If they ignored your work-related messages and therefore affected your ability to perform well at your job, let your lawyer know.
Correspondences with Others
If you’ve been suffering from workplace sexual harassment for a long time, you might have discussed the problem with a fellow employee, family member, or friend. You might also have filed a complaint with your human resources department or employer. The accounts of witnesses and people who knew about the problem can also be used as evidence during your sexual harassment suit.
Sometimes, sexual harassment in the workplace is so bad that the employee has to get medical attention. The stress related to harassment can lead to anxiety, depression, persistent and unexplained pain, decreased concentration, insomnia, and digestive problems. Medical records and statements by doctors count as evidence in a sexual harassment case.
Other Employees’ Sexual Harassment Claims
You might not be the only one who was sexually harassed at your workplace. There might be others who are suffering at the hands of the same person.
Once you hire an attorney for harassment and speak out, the other employees might come forward and help you provide proof that sexual harassment at work occurred on multiple occasions. Your lawyer might encourage you to speak to a co-worker who’s been there longer than you to find out whether a similar incident occurred in the past.
Evidence that Supervisors Knew About the Problem
Your attorney will ask you about your employer’s sexual harassment policy. If it isn’t up to scratch or you believe that your employer knew about your sexual harassment claim, the company might partly be at fault.
As an employee, you have the right to protection against discrimination and inappropriate behavior. Evidence that demonstrates your employer knew about the issue includes a past complaint, emails or messages, or even a verbal complaint.
In addition to providing evidence that sexual harassment occurred, you also have to prove that the situation has affected your health and your ability to perform well at your job. This determines how much compensation you’re entitled to.
Keep a record of your job performance and any performance reviews. If there is a dip in your productivity, you can use this as evidence that the person who harassed you unreasonably interfered with your work.
What Counts as Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment is different from sexual assault. It doesn’t necessarily involve a sexual act or sexual favors, but it includes inappropriate comments, discrimination, and conduct that is meant to intimidate the victim.
All sexual behavior that occurs without consent is harassment. Incidents could involve sending unwanted messages, repeatedly complimenting the victim, making sexual gestures, leering, or making sexual comments.
Does a Single Incident Count as Sexual Harassment?
Sometimes, a single incident can be enough for a sexual harassment suit. However, the law is much stricter about ongoing behavior, so it’s easier to prove a harassment claim if the issue has been going on for a while.
How Can a Sexual Harassment Attorney Help?
Several factors affect the success of a workplace sexual harassment claim. Some sexual harassment lawsuits are more successful than others because the victim can show that they were harassed and that the person’s behavior caused significant damage.
Your lawyer for harassment will start by analyzing your harassment claim in detail. They will help you prove that you were in a hostile work environment and that this has affected your health and your ability to work.
How Much Is a Sexual Harassment Case Worth?
Not every sexual harassment case is worth the same amount. You’re more likely to get a higher amount of compensation if you can provide proof that the incidents have resulted in economic damages.
Your harassment lawyers can help you gain access to a five or six-figure sum if you can prove that you lost one or more of the following elements: job benefits, a raise, a bonus, vacation pay, sick pay, or retirement pay. If your employer’s conduct contributed to the problem, you might also get compensatory or punitive damages.
Sexual harassment at work is a serious crime because it affects the victim’s mental health and undermines their right to work in a safe environment. If you’ve been harassed by another employee, your employer, or a supervisor, don’t hesitate to reach out to an attorney for harassment and take legal action. With the right lawyer, you can get compensation for your pain and suffering, loss of income, and any other damages.
Call us now at Holman Schiavone to find out more about sexual harassment law and to speak to our harassment lawyers.