Coyle Browne Law


How to Document Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment in the workplace is a serious and unacceptable issue that can have far-reaching consequences for its victims. The impact on an affected individual’s professional trajectory and personal well-being highlights why combating this misconduct is critical. Effective documentation is key in building a strong harassment claim and rigorously fighting back against inappropriate behavior. Here are the steps you should take to document sexual harassment in the workplace:

Understand What Sexual Harassment is: Understanding the definition of sexual harassment is fundamental in recognizing it within your workplace and taking action. Generally, it includes unwelcome advances, requests for sexual favors or other conduct of a sexual nature that can affect work conditions or create a hostile work environment. Knowing this helps to differentiate unacceptable and illegal behavior from mere unprofessionalism.

Record the Details Immediately: Capturing details while they’re fresh in your mind is crucial. Write down specifics, such as the date and time of each instance, exact location within your workplace it occurred, and a precise account of what was said or done

Keep Records of Communications: Maintain a careful record of all forms of communication related to the harassment. Emails, texts messages, notes, or voicemails received from the harasser should be preserved as this could serve as evidence. Even items that don’t seem relevant initially may prove important later on. Also keep a record of any communication with HR or management about the harassment.

Identify Witnesses: Compile a list of people who witnessed any instances of harassment or may have relevant information. Document their contact details alongside descriptions or statements of what happened in their presence. It can strengthen your claim when others corroborate your account or what took place.

Report the Harassment: If you feel safe doing so, follow your company’s established protocol for reporting harassment. Normally this involves speaking with a supervisor or human resources representative -it’s very important that they are made aware of what has occurred.

Seek Legal Support: Consulting with a San Diego employment law attorney experienced in dealing with sexual harassment cases is essential to effectively navigating the legal process. A lawyer can advise you on your rights and the best way to proceed, including filing a complaint with the appropriate entities.

Seek Mental Health Support: The psychological effects of sexual harassment can be profound. Seek support from a qualified mental health professional to address the trauma and stress caused by the incident. Taking care of your mental well-being is crucial during this challenging period.

Legal Recourse for Workplace Sexual Harassment

Victims of sexual harassment in the workplace have recourse under state and federal laws. One avenue is filing a complaint with appropriate agencies like the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Following this, these agencies may either take direct action or grant permission for victims to file a lawsuit in federal court.

If successful, you could be granted any or all of the following remedies

  • Compensatory damages to cover the cost of any harm suffered because of the harassment, such as medical expenses due to stress or depression that followed the incident. This can also include lost current and future wages if the victim was forced out of a job because of the harassment. 
  • Punitive Damages, which are intended to punish the perpetrator or the company in cases of particularly egregious conduct and deter similar future behavior within the organization.
  • In some cases, reinstatement or promotion is an appropriate remedy as well when harassment led to unfair job loss or a denied promotion. This ensures that a victim can return to work or advance as if the harassment had not occurred, rectifying any career setbacks faced due to reporting the incident.

If you’ve experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, take action to assert your rights and seek justice for what happened. Contact our San Diego sexual harassment attorney today to schedule a free consultation.

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