Many sexual harassment claims are filed because a workplace has become a hostile environment. This means that the offensive conduct, based on the sex of the victim, is so severe and pervasive that a reasonable person would see the environment as hostile or abusive. A hostile environment is created by employees (or even non-employees) who, for instance, engage in conversation that is sexually offensive or display sexually explicit pictures. Employers have a legal obligation to make sure that the workplace is not a hostile environment. If your workplace is intolerable, contact an attorney to discuss a possible hostile environment sexual harassment claim.
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Keeping a Sexual Harassment Log
Sexual harassment in the workplace typically consists of numerous incidents. An accurate and detailed written log, or diary, of the incidents will help prove your claim of sexual harassment by providing evidence of what took place and when. An attorney from Allred, Maroko & Goldberg in Los Angeles, with experience in handling sexual harassment claims, can tell you what type of evidence you need in order to bring a sexual harassment claim in CA.
When to record an incident
It is best to record an incident as soon as you believe you have experienced sexual harassment. Even if you have no intention of bringing a claim, or even if you aren't sure whether something constitutes harassment, it is important to record it. Sexual harassment cases often start with one or two isolated remarks or incidents. You will want to be able to show the timeline and evolution of the harassment. It is also important that you write down what happened while your recollection is still fresh and accurate.
What to write
It is better to write too much rather than not enough. You may not be able to tell now whether something will be important. You should record:
- Offensive conversations or remarks
- Sexual contact or touching
- Sexual incidents in the workplace
- Emails or memos you have received (place hard copies in your log, if possible)
- Complaints you have made: when, to whom, what you said and the response
Your log should include the names and titles of the people involved, as well as the dates and times of the incidents or conversations. Do not be afraid to record your own emotional reaction, even if no one else saw it. Your reactions and feelings could be an important part of your case.
You should also include copies of the performance evaluations you receive from your employer. Later, if your employer attempts to retaliate against you for filing a sexual harassment action, the employer may try to justify not giving you a raise or promotion because of your work record. It is important to know just what your history is so that you can rebut such a claim.
If you are seeing a physician, a psychologist or another professional because of the stress of the harassment, be sure to document all of your visits. Note whether the doctor made a diagnosis, gave any advice or prescribed any medications.
Be detailed in your recordkeeping. Remember that another person eventually may read your log, and you want to make everything clear for someone who was not there to see or hear what happened.
You may not be the only one with a complaint. If you can, find out if other employees have noticed or complained about the same type of harassment. You may be able to find additional evidence that will bolster your claim. Talking to other employees whom you trust may also help to combat feelings of isolation and to establish that you found the conduct offensive at the time it happened.
Speak to an employment law attorney
Even though it may be upsetting to keep a sexual harassment log, recording incidents as they happen is often the best way of getting the proof you need to make an effective claim. An attorney from Allred, Maroko & Goldberg in Los Angeles, CA, who is knowledgeable in the area of sexual harassment law can help you record strong evidence.
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