Wider recognition of cases involving single, isolated incidents of sexual harassment has offered greater protection for employees in recent years. People, and more importantly courts, are taking sexual harassment cases seriously, and that is good for people who experience sexual harassment in the workplace.
However, that doesn’t mean proving sexual harassment is easy.
Victims must prove that harassment occurred, and the employer will almost always deny any wrongdoing. While the laws regarding sexual harassment are clear, direct evidence can be hard to come by. Given this, sexual harassment cases often turn into instances of “he said, she said.”
To strengthen your case, it is important to keep any proof of harassment, especially if it is in electronic or written communication. If there is no physical evidence, you should document instances of harassment. Keeping meticulous records and having hard evidence can improve the chances of your case being successful.
Being proactive when sexual harassment occurs in the workplace can also increase your odds of proving your claim in court. Reporting harassment to your human resources department and following the procedures outlined in your employee handbook are important first steps. However, be aware that just because an employer has a certain rule, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are following the law.
Sexual harassment can be traumatic. Even one offensive incident can lead to a hostile work environment. The stress, or expected stress, of fighting a case can lead some victims to feel like hiring an attorney and holding their employer accountable isn’t worthwhile.
Knowing how to bring a case against your employer can be your best defense.