When a co-worker harasses you, it’s important to document the incident immediately. This documentation can include emails, text messages, notes, pictures, and videos. Some examples of sexual harassment include a hostile work environment, unwanted physical overtures such as exposing one’s genitals or stroking, and quid pro quo (requesting sexual favors in exchange for career advancement).
The more documentation you have to support your claim, the stronger your case will be. Your attorney can help you collect evidence, including any emails, messages, voicemails, or photos that could prove the harassment was ongoing and unwelcome. In addition, keeping any communications you have with your employer or Human Resources Department about the incidents is important. Your attorney can also recommend reporting the behavior to your employer’s HR department if it feels safe. This doesn’t necessarily remedy the situation, but it can help in a legal proceeding to show you tried to address the issue in good faith.
Additionally, having witnesses testify as part of your claim may be helpful. For example, a witness who can confirm that a supervisor asked for sexual favors in exchange for a promotion or demotion is vital to show your employer was engaging in quid pro quo harassment and creating a hostile work environment.
Filing a Complaint
An experienced sexual harassment attorney Rockland MA can help you file the appropriate paperwork with the federal government or your employer. They can help ensure your charges clearly state what happened and when and why. They can also help you address any concerns or fears about retaliation or a lack of action taken by your employer. Your lawyer can also help you document the harassment and any impacts on your life. Keep a detailed journal about incidents and save any offensive photographs, notes, or letters you receive. Document any verbal communications with your employer or the person harassing you, especially if they relate to reporting or resisting the harassment. When it results in a hostile work atmosphere, negatively impacts productivity, or infringes on your civil rights, sexual harassment is prohibited. Your attorney can analyze your records and evidence to determine the damages you may be entitled to. In some cases, sexual harassment can even be considered criminal activity under federal law.
Negotiating with the Defendant
In a civil sexual harassment lawsuit, the plaintiff seeks compensation for several damages. These can include back pay, front pay, compensatory damages, and punitive damages. In addition, a victim may also seek to have their employer discipline or fire the harasser and make changes to workplace policies. A skilled employment discrimination attorney will know the laws in your state and can help you calculate your damages and file them appropriately. They will also take over communication with the defendant and insurance company and negotiate on your behalf to get you the maximum amount of compensation possible.
Depending on your long-term employment goals, settling out of court might be best rather than fighting your case in court.
Filing a Lawsuit
When harassment is severe, the victim may have no choice but to file a lawsuit. A sexual harassment attorney can help ensure that the complaint follows proper procedure and that no steps are missed that would prevent you from getting the compensation you deserve. A sexual harassment lawyer can also protect you from retaliation. Your employer cannot pass you up for a promotion or fire you in revenge after you bring a sexual harassment claim. Sometimes, your sexual harassment attorney must file an administrative claim with a federal or state agency. When necessary, the agency will investigate the case and send you a “right-to-sue” notice, allowing you to take your claim to court. The value of your settlement will vary based on the details of your case and the extent and severity of your harassment. A sexual harassment attorney can determine the right amount to request in your case.