Harassment and discrimination can create a hostile working environment, negatively impact your career prospects, and be psychologically damaging. Fortunately, if you are a victim of sexual harassment, workplace discrimination, or other violations of your employment contract, you can work with a lawyer who specializes in employment law to file a complaint and seek justice.
Ask a Workplace Discrimination Lawyer: How Do You Prove Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment in the workplace must be proven with direct evidence, which means the burden of proof for your lawsuit rests on you and your lawyer. You will need to provide evidence that harassment in the workplace negatively impacted your employment and contributed to a hostile work environment. Some specific pieces of evidence that can be used in your case include:
Take Detailed Notes
Taking detailed notes can be immensely helpful when it’s time to build your case. Contemporaneous notes are diaries, journals, or logs that keep details of all harassment and discrimination experiences in the workplace. When you’re taking detailed notes about your experiences, it’s important to be factual and include details such as the date, time, and the individuals involved in the incident.
Keep Correspondence Records
Records of correspondence from the people who are harassing you can also help build your case. For example, memos, emails, text messages, and even voicemails can all be used to prove harassment and discrimination in the workplace. Furthermore, these records can be synchronized with your contemporaneous notes because these records will have digital time and date stamps.
Depending on your work situation, you may also be able to rely on other employees for collaborative testimony. If other employees are experiencing harassment or discrimination, or other employees were witnesses to your experiences, their testimony can be used to strengthen your case.
Proving Quid Pro Quo
Quid pro quo is a very common form of harassment in the workplace. Quid pro quo occurs when the conditions of your employment are reliant on returning sexual favors. For example, if your job has been threatened unless you agree to engage in sexual acts with your employer or supervisor, this is considered quid pro quo.
In a quid pro quo case, you will have to prove that you are part of the protected group and that you were subjected to unwanted sexual contact or requests. You will also need to prove that complying with a sexual favor was a condition of your employment or employment benefits.
Proving Hostile Work Environment
Harassment can also contribute to a hostile work environment. To prove a hostile work environment, you will need to prove that you were subjected to harassment and that this harassment was pervasive enough to negatively impact your job. In many cases, you also have to prove that your employer or supervisor was aware of the harassment, but did not correct the situation by reprimanding relevant employees.
What Legal Protections Do You Have?
Many people are scared to file a complaint or lawsuit for harassment or discrimination in the workplace for fear of losing their jobs. However, a Kansas City-based workplace discrimination lawyer will be able to help you secure legal protections when you are seeking justice or compensation.
For example, when you file a complaint in Kansas City, under the Missouri Human Rights Act, your employer is not allowed to retaliate against you by firing you, demoting you, or restricting employee benefits.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 has a provision that protects employees from harassment and discrimination in the workplace. Under this law, employers, supervisors, and other employees are prohibited from treating applicants and employees unfavorably due to gender. This law also prohibits sexual contact or harassment that can substantially impact an individual’s ability to perform their job.
How Can a Lawyer Help?
If you have been a victim of workplace harassment or discrimination, you have several options you can pursue. When you first speak with a lawyer about your complaint, the lawyer will need to review the details of your case and assess whether your experiences qualify for harassment or discrimination.
In addition to assessing your case, a lawyer who specializes in discrimination and harassment in the workplace can also help you file complaints with relevant authorities. For example, with the help of a lawyer, you can file a complaint with the Missouri Commission on Humans Rights or the EEOC. You also have the option of filing a lawsuit to receive compensation for harassment.
Victims of sexual harassment and workplace discrimination often endure emotional pain and suffering, unwanted physical advances, and negative impacts on employment opportunities. If you are a victim, then hiring a lawyer who specializes in employment law can be helpful when it’s time to file a complaint or prove your case in court.