Discrimination and harassment in the workplace are unacceptable. Yet they happen at high rates. In 2020, the EEOC handled more than 67,000 cases of discrimination.
Every employee needs to know how to prove harassment. Yet the proof of harassment may be hard to come by.
What are the signs of workplace harassment? What documents should someone obtain to prove that the abusive behavior happened? How does medical and physical evidence help in a harassment case?
Answer these questions and you can open up your legal options against workplace harassment. Here is your quick guide.
Notice the Signs of Workplace Harassment
Harassment can constitute several behaviors. It can be verbal. It can involve offensive jokes or unprofessional comments about a person’s appearance or personality.
It can be physical. Touching someone’s arms, legs, and torso is not acceptable. The touching may not be sexual, but it still constitutes harassment if it makes the person uncomfortable.
The gestures can be repeated, or they can be a one-time occurrence. Some courts do require repeated conduct in order to rule in a victim’s favor. But certain acts like assault can result in immediate action.
The key to harassment is that the victim feels uncomfortable. They do not feel respected in their office, and they may struggle to complete their work. If a coworker seems insecure about themselves, others should check in with them.
There are many types of documents that employees can use to prove discrimination. Employee handbooks contain anti-harassment policies. If those policies are violated, the victim’s case is very strong.
Diary entries are very useful. Records with dates and locations of the harassment provide contemporaneous accounts of what happened. The diary is more effective when it is on a computer that logs when entries are made.
Harassment cases are at their strongest when a person loses money or a promotion due to harassment. A jury can look to pay records for damages. They may be able to give the victim all the money that they lost.
Physical evidence of the harassment itself provides confirmation of the incident. Emails, text messages, and photographs can all be used in a trial.
Some people experience a medical condition as a result of their harassment. They may suffer from a stress-related illness like high blood pressure. Medical documents can indicate the extent of the harassment.
How to Prove Discrimination and Harassment in the Workplace
Everyone needs to fight discrimination and harassment in the workplace. Recognizing the signs of harassment can go a long way.
Harassment can be verbal or physical, including inappropriate touching. It can occur one time, especially if the conduct involves an assault. Anything that makes the victim uncomfortable constitutes harassment.
A number of documents can prove a harassment case. Employee handbooks detail important policies.
Diary entries, financial records, and physical evidence can show harassment actually happened. Medical records can show the effects of the behavior.
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