No matter how progressive and developed the world has become, sexual harassment remains prevalent in the workplace. Sexual harassment is not always recognizable. Sometimes it starts as a lewd joke or a demeaning comment disguised as a compliment. Nevertheless, sexual harassment includes any unwanted verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. It does not have to be explicit to make you uncomfortable or feel like your work environment is hostile.
If you are experiencing sexual harassment at your workplace in Pennsylvania, you can file a complaint with the applicable government agencies. It is crucial to keep a record of every incident and understand the importance of documenting evidence. Evidence can be vital in proving your case and protecting your rights.
Understanding what constitutes evidence and keeping detailed records
The type of evidence you can gather to support your sexual harassment claims will vary depending on the unique facts surrounding your case. Your harasser might use emails, text messages, voicemails, letters or other forms of communication, which you can easily preserve. However, when the harassment is less digital and more physical or verbal, it can be more challenging to document. Here are some tips that can help you:
- Write down every instance of harassment you experience as soon as possible after it happens.
- Include the date, time, location and the people involved.
- Describe the incident in detail and be thorough.
- Secure tangible evidence in the form of physical or digital communications and save these in a secure place.
- Identify any witnesses who might be willing to provide a statement or testify on your behalf.
- Report the incident to your employer or HR department.
Your employer should have a process for reporting sexual harassment because of how commonplace it is in the office. Ensure you follow the process and keep a record of who you reported to, when you reported it and how it was reported.
The pattern of behavior can be essential to your case
The first episode of sexual harassment could be an isolated incident or the start of a pattern of behavior. Taking and keeping a record of every incident will be instrumental in building your case. The sooner you start gathering and preserving evidence, the more there will be available to support and substantiate your claim.