Have you been subjected to unwanted sexual advances or inappropriate sexual comments in the workplace? If so, then you might have been on the receiving end of legally actionable sexual harassment. We know that sexual harassment can have a tremendous ramification on your job and your career, but it can also be embarrassing and cause a lot of emotional pain and suffering in both your professional and your personal life. That’s why you should strive to hold sexual harassers accountable and seek the relief that you deserve.
Under the law, not all adverse actions are actionable
One of the best ways for a sexual harassment claim to succeed is to show that you were retaliated against by your employer for reporting the behavior or failing to comply with unwanted sexual advancements. To do show, you’ll need to demonstrate that a negative employment action was taken against you. This might include demotion or termination, but it might be subtler, such as by being reassigned to a less favorable job duty or shift. A retaliating employer might even go so far as to intentionally reschedule your work hours to coincide with time when you’re supposed to have visitation with your children. But not all negative employment actions are legally actionable.
Gathering the evidence you need to support your claim
Collecting evidence is key in demonstrating that a negative employment action constitutes illegal employer retaliation. Here are a few things you can do to protect yourself and your claim moving forward:
- Talk to human resources: Your first step after being harassed should be speaking with your human resources department to see if they can help you put a stop to the harassing behavior. Make sure you keep a copy of any reports filed and any responses you receive from them so that you can better determine the thoroughness of their investigation and the appropriateness of their action or inaction.
- Document everything: You’re going to need detailed facts to support you claim. Therefore, you should take notes regarding the harassing behavior that you’ve been subjected to, as well as what other witnesses have to say in the matter. Keep track of all email communications and text messages that might help prove you claim, and don’t overlook those communications that might seem minor but could be taken out of context and derail your case.
- Gather pertinent documents: Emails and text messages are key, but so, too, are your performance appraisals. The chances are pretty high that your employer is going to attribute its negative employment action to a justifiable reason, such as poor performance or inadequate work attendance. You’ll want to be prepared to counter those assertions.
- Obtain witness information: If you’re going to be pursuing a legal claim, then you’ll need to be ready to go to trial, even if you anticipate your case resolving through negotiations. So talk to anyone else who may have been sexually harassed at our place of employment as well as those who witnessed you being harassed and write down their name, contact information, and what, exactly, they can speak to.
Be confident in your approach to your sexual harassment case
It can be intimidating to go up against your employer or your former employer. But you can alleviate the stress by building a holistic case that is founded on the facts and the law. An attorney who is experienced with these kinds of cases can help you navigate the challenges of your case, fighting throughout the process to give you the voice that you deserve and that was wrongly taken away from you by your harasser. If you’d like to learn more about how to build your case, then research and select a firm that you think will aggressively stand up for you and your rights.