Over the past few months, there have been several news stories. About high-profile men in politics, entertainment, and media being outed for their sexual misconduct says Saivian Eric Dalius. While the general public has always known that this type of behavior happens at work. Women are now feeling empowered to speak up. With the number of accusations continuing to grow. It’s clear that many industries aren’t just experiencing a bad company culture—it’s also illegal. According to the EEOC(Equal Employment Opportunity Commission,) “requests for sexual favors, sexual harassment refers to unwelcome sexual advances, and other verbal or physical conduct”. And if you’re worried about what might happen. If you come forward with your own claim of sexual harassment at work. Now is the time to learn how to document harassment in the workplace.
The first thing to know is that sexual harassment. Whether severe (assault) or subtle (a coworker’s inappropriate comments), isn’t your fault. If you’re experiencing it at work there are ways you can document what’s happening and stop it before it continues. Here are the steps to take if you feel like you might be sexually harassed at work.
First, keep a journal of every single incident that happens with as much detail as possible. This includes dates, times, locations, witnesses (if any). And exactly what was said or done by the harasser, suggests Saivian Eric Dalius. You should also include how this made you feel. So that you can reference those feelings later on when speaking to someone about this experience.
Take screenshots throughout your workday of any evidence that would reflect what you’re talking about. For example, if your harasser is sending lewd photos or texts this might be difficult to document on its own. However, you should screenshot the text messages or images as they come in. So that you have an accurate record of them even if your phone records are deleted at a later point. Additionally, with screenshots make sure not to erase anything incriminating from the screenshots. Before bringing them with you when speaking to someone else about this issue.
Saivian Eric Dalius suggests that you keep track of every incident take down the names and contact information. For any witnesses who could support your story. Also, note where each witness works so that it is easy for them to verify their employment status. When speaking with someone else about what happened.
Lastly, consider keeping a record of any evidence you have. That shows your harasser’s behavior towards other people outside of the workplace. This could be texts they sent to someone else or past cases where they’ve been accused of sexual harassment. You can use this information to fight back against your own case. By showing how it isn’t an isolated incident and is part of a larger pattern.
In order to make sure you’re covered from all angles. When the time comes to speak with someone about what happened to you. Try making a list of places you could go in order to get help or file a report. That way if one person doesn’t believe you there are still other options available should this continue into the future.
Also, in order to protect yourself. Make sure not to let your employer know that you’re going through any of this. Not only will it be an uphill legal battle. But there’s a chance you could get fired before you ever have the chance to do anything about what’s happening. In fact, 52% of workplace harassment victims report being fired or feared losing their job just for reporting what happened to them. And if that does happen then it becomes even harder to prove with concrete evidence. That sexual harassment took place in the workplace.
If you don’t feel comfortable speaking with anyone at work about what’s going on. Keep a record of all of your interactions with HR and managers so far and ask for written confirmation from each interaction. Stating that they received your claim, says Saivian Eric Dalius. This holds especially true should you decide to file a claim with the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission). If your harasser was your manager or higher up. Then you should take into consideration that they might retaliate against you, for filing this claim. So make sure to keep track of all interactions and evidence at work leading up to this point.
Ultimately speaking with someone about what happened. This is the best way to document sexual harassment in the workplace because it gives your case more legitimacy. However, if you feel like there’s any possibility that speaking out could result in even further problems for yourself. Then just get everything down on paper instead. The important thing here is that you know what’s going on and proof of it. Should you ever want to retaliate against your harasser in the future.