Proving Sexual Harassment Took Place, if There Were No Witnesses
Sexual harassment is a common problem in workplaces in California. It is prevalent throughout the US, with 734,630 sexual assault and rape crimes reported in 2018. If you experienced sexual harassment at work, you are not alone. You have legal options such as filing an official complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or bringing a civil claim. Remedies may be available, even if no one witnessed the harassment against you. If necessary, a sexual harassment lawyer can help you prove your case.
Types of Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment refers to any sexual comments, jokes, behaviors, actions or content that is inappropriate, unwelcome or nonconsensual. In the workplace, sexual harassment can refer not only to actions but also to gestures, facial expressions, emails and images posted in the office. It can also refer to discrimination based on your sex, gender or sexual orientation. Sexual harassment can take many forms at work in California, including:
- Physical sexual assault
- Requests for sexual favors
- Quid pro quo sexual harassment
- Employment decisions based on sex or gender
- Conditions dependent on sexual favors
- Verbal sexual harassment
- Pressuring someone to engage in sexual acts
- Indecent exposure at work
- Sending unwanted sexually explicit messages or photos
If you experienced any type of sexual harassment in the workplace, you have rights. While an eyewitness who can corroborate your story would help you prove sexual harassment, you do not necessarily need one for a successful case. Come forward with your complaint even if you and the perpetrator were the only two in the room at the time of the crime. You have other ways of proving the legitimacy of your claim.
Notifying Your Employer
Your workplace should have a sexual harassment policy to guide you through the reporting process. Follow the guidelines exactly after experiencing sexual harassment. Going against company policy could make it more difficult to prove your case, establish your credibility or receive a remedy later. If your workplace does not have a sexual harassment policy, go directly to your supervisor to report the matter instead. Request a written report of your complaint. Your supervisor may be able to resolve the issue.
Strengthen your sexual harassment case by notifying someone of the incident right away. Telling management that a coworker or someone else sexually harassed you will document the event on paper. This can support your claim later and help you keep the facts of your case consistent. Reporting to your employer or the Human Resources department can lead to an official incident report with details such as the date, time, location, the name of the person involved and what happened.
Credibility and Documentation
Without any eyewitnesses to attest to the sexual harassment, it is critical to protect yourself with thorough documentation. You need to optimize your trustworthiness and credibility as a claimant for a strong case. Present a credible case with as much documentation as possible when it comes time to report the matter. Keep track of all sexual harassment or discrimination incidents at work in a journal. Include facts such as the time and date, as well as a detailed description of what happened. With proper reporting procedures and ample documentation of the incident, you could have a strong and credible sexual harassment case in California even without any eyewitnesses.
When to Contact an Employment Attorney
Do everything you can to follow reporting protocols at your job and document sexual harassment in your workplace. This will enhance your chances of a successful claim against the perpetrator if you do not have any corresponding eyewitness statements. If your employer fails to do anything about the issue, go to the EEOC and file an official complaint instead. The EEOC can review the facts, investigate your claim and potentially schedule mediation between you and your employer to resolve the matter.
If EEOC involvement does not lead to a positive resolution, contact a Los Angeles sexual harassment attorney to help you file a lawsuit instead. A lawyer can walk you through the steps to take to build a strong case, even without any witnesses. Your lawyer can take care of the legal process on your behalf, including filing before California’s deadline, while you look toward the future.