Many victims of sexual harassment in the workplace are afraid to speak up, and one of the biggest reasons is because they feel no one will believe their story.
There are many different forms of workplace sexual harassment, and they can all have a devastating impact on employees, causing them to be unable to perform their job duties or resulting in mental and psychological distress.
Lack of evidence is common
It is not uncommon for sexual harassment claims brought against employers to lack substantial evidence other than the victim’s word. This is understandable, since most harassment takes place in private, to ensure there are no witnesses.
There are many things you can do if you are being sexually harassed in the workplace but worry that you do not have any “proof” of the harassment.
Write down everything that happens
Start documenting everything that happens. Write down the date, time, location and the words or actions of the harasser. This will not only help your memory but will help your credibility as a witness.
Unfortunately, sometimes people do lie about being sexually harassed. However, these people are less likely to have extensive written evidence journaling each incident of harassment, which is why your documentation can bolster your testimony.
Keep a record of communication with your employer
Before you file a claim, try communicating with your employer about the harassment. Keep all communications written and direct them to whomever at your workplace is most appropriate for this type of conversation. It could be a direct manager or a member of the human resources staff.
When you file your claim, you can submit this written communication as evidence, along with your written journal.
Finding potential witnesses
If you feel comfortable, talk to other employees and see if they have witnessed anything. There might be witnesses to the harassment who, like you, have been too afraid to speak up. You won’t know unless you ask.
You do not have to be a victim of sexual harassment, and you have rights under the law. There are attorneys who focus on helping sexual harassment victims and they can be strong advocates for you.