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How do I Prove a Sexual Harassment Claim?

By G. Wiesen
Updated May 17, 2024
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To prove a sexual harassment claim you will typically need to first file your claim, be prepared to recount the event or events that constituted the harassment, and provide witnesses or evidence of the harassment. It can be difficult to prove claims of harassment without evidence or witnesses, but you should make every effort to accurately recall details of the harassment to ensure your side of the story will be as persuasive as possible. If you are offended or threatened by certain behavior, you should never laugh at it or go along with the behavior, as this can be used against you to disprove your sexual harassment claim.

A sexual harassment claim is an official statement indicating that someone has been the victim of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is behavior that seeks to cause a person to feel threatened or distressed due to sexual suggestions or comments, or behavior that creates a hostile environment for someone due to his or her gender, sexual preferences, or sexual identity. If you have been the victim of sexual harassment, you will first need to file a sexual harassment claim with your workplace or other environment in which the harassment occurred. You should follow any procedures established by your workplace for such claims, as this is typically necessary before proceeding.

Once you file your sexual harassment claim, then you should be prepared to be interviewed by an investigator into the claim. You should be treated respectfully by the investigator, and if you are not treated properly then you should consider further action against those who assigned him or her. During the investigation, you will likely have to recount the events that constitute the harassment, so you should be prepared with accurate details regarding where it occurred, the date and time it occurred, and the names of any witnesses to the event. If any form of retaliation against you occurs during this process, then you should make subsequent claims indicating such actions, as they are typically illegal and grounds for further civil action against an employer.

You will typically need witnesses or evidence to help you prove your sexual harassment claim, though if you do not have them your claim may still be successful. This means you should be aware of anyone else present during the harassment, as well as any biases or prejudices they may have. You should also keep any evidence you have regarding the harassment, including letters and e-mails you may have been sent, and any phone calls you received. While keeping such things may be offensive or painful for you, they can make a tremendous difference toward proving your claim.

It is also important that you do not engage in the behavior that you are reporting in a sexual harassment claim. If you laugh openly at jokes you later call offensive or engage in flirting with someone you file a claim against, then such behavior can be used against you to disprove your sexual harassment claim. You should also make a request for any behavior you consider harassment to stop, the first time the behavior occurs. This ensures that if the behavior continues, the harasser cannot simply claim ignorance and you can prove that you indicated your feelings in the situation.

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Discussion Comments
By Lostnfound — On Jun 24, 2014

Obscene jokes are probably the most insidious form of sexual harassment. If you laugh, you're encouraging them. If not, you're a prude and they laugh at you. It's a no-win situation.

So you have to write everything down, with dates and times, and locations. It's a pain in the neck, but it may be the only way not only to prove your case and get HR to take you seriously, but to show the perpetrators that you really mean business and you won't be fobbed off.

By Grivusangel — On Jun 23, 2014

Document, document, document. I've had to do it. My former boss created a hostile work environment for most of the women in my office by yelling and cursing at us, as well as hitting on the pretty girls. Most of what I did was as a witness.

However, at one job I had, my boss hit on me because I was the only female, and then treated me like crap when I refused him. He was such a jerk! He would tell sexual jokes in front of me and when the other guys didn't laugh out loud too, he called them wimps.

The best day of my life was when he fired me. I didn't file a legal suit against him, but I took my documentation to the EEOC and told them I knew I'd been fired because I wouldn't sleep with him.

They didn't have to file a suit on my behalf. He left the company, and no one has heard from him since.

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