As an employee, you are entitled to a safe and harassment-free workplace. And while most employers strive to make the workplace safe, incidents of sexual harassment are not uncommon. If you are a victim of sexual harassment at work, the law permits you to sue your employer for the resulting damages.
To litigate your claim, however, you must show that your allegations are true. This is where proof of sexual harassment comes in. So, how do you prove that you have been sexually harassed at work?
Understanding sexual harassment at work
Workplace sexual harassment, at the very basic, is defined as any unwanted or unwelcome sexual advances that happen at work or by virtue of your work. This can take any of the following forms:
- Suggestive jokes or comments about your appearance
- Unwelcome contacts like kissing, hugging and touching
- Soliciting a sexual relationship in return for work-related favors (also known as quid pro quo)
- Sharing sexually explicit photos and videos
- Sexually explicit emails and text messages
Sexual harassment can also include behaviors that may warrant criminal charges such as sexual assault, physical assault, stalking and indecent exposure.
Proving sexual harassment at work
The best way to prove sexual harassment is to bring forward a third party who witnessed the incident. In the absence of a witness (or alongside one), you may present the following evidence to prove your claim:
- Communication between you and the perpetrator such as emails, text messages and voice notes
- Surveillance footage if the harassment involved physical contact
- A journal of the specific incidents, when and how they happened as well as your communication with your employer regarding these incidents
Find out how thoughtful legal counsel can help you build a strong sexual harassment claim against your employer.