Documenting Sexual Harassment

Documenting Sexual Harassment

March, 2019

No employee should be sexually harassed. Unfortunately, thousands suffer in silence on the job. And although the “Me Too” movement has raised awareness about the widespread nature of sexual harassment in our workplaces, far too many employers disbelieve any worker who complains.

If you are being sexually harassed at work, there are steps you can take to document the harassment. With this documentation in hand, you have a much stronger case for compensation from your employer.

Preserve Harassing Communications

If you received a note, email, or phone message containing harassing language, then make sure to preserve it. You can send a copy of the email to your private account and make a photocopy of any note. Preserve a voicemail message by playing it and recording it with your smartphone.

When you decide to come forward about sexual harassment, your bosses could start to destroy evidence to cover up the tracks, so you want backup copies.

Keep Detailed Notes

Keep a log in which you record all harassing conduct that takes place during the day, including:

  • Jokes
  • Epithets
  • Slurs
  • Sexually-explicit language
  • Sexual gestures
  • Sexual imagery
  • Quid pro quo propositions for sex
  • Unwelcome touching

Note the date and time as well as the substance of the offensive conduct. The more detailed your memories, the better for your case.

Identify Witnesses to Harassing Conduct

Witnesses could be a co-worker, supervisor, or vendor. Write down their name and how an attorney can reach them. A witness is excellent evidence to have since juries tend to find disinterested third parties more credible.

If a customer saw the harassment, then try to discreetly note their name by looking at their credit card or other identifying information. An attorney can contact them, as well.

Complain About the Conduct

It is a sad fact that many people will assume that you are making up the harassment if you wait too long to report it. For this reason, it is better to bite the bullet and report the harassment, even if your immediate supervisor is the one harassing you. By waiting, you only reinforce the assumption that you did not find the conduct that offensive when it happened.

Your company should have a grievance procedure in place. Look in your employee handbook or manual. If you do not see anything there, then go to Human Resources and ask whom you can talk to. Then report the harassment. This will put your employer on notice that they need to take corrective action. If they fail to, then they can be on the hook for compensation.

Hire an Attorney

If you work in a small business, then there might not be anyone to whom to report the harassment. In that case, it is best to get legal representation as soon as possible. Your Lancaster sexual harassment attorney can listen to your complaint and identify the best path forward for seeking justice.

At Marshall & Forman, LLC, we help employees who have suffered from sexual harassment in the workplace. We can meet with you to learn more about the harassing conduct and whether it rises to the level of employment discrimination.

Please contact us as soon as possible. You can call 614-463-9790 or send us an online message.