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Keeping a Sexual Harassment Log is Vital to Proving Workplace Sexual Harassment

 Posted on June 14, 2018 in Workplace Sexual Harassment

Allegheny County sexual harassment lawyersThere has never been a greater emphasis on sexual harassment in the workplace than in recent years. After allegations of severe sexual harassment and sexual assault were brought against film producer Harvey Weinstein, more and more victims of sexual harassment started coming forward with their own stories. Accusations of inappropriate sexual behavior and harassment have also been leveled against former NBC News host Matt Lauer, leading to his termination.

If you feel that you are sexually harassed at work, do not hesitate to take action. One of the most important steps you can take is to collect all the instances of sexual harassment in a sexual harassment log.

The Importance of Recording Instances of Harassment

Sexual harassment is almost never a one-time occurrence. This is especially true of hostile work environment sexual harassment, which is one of the two types of sexual harassment recognized by the law. Someone who is experiencing hostile work environment sexual harassment is so disturbed by harassing or inappropriate behaviors that he or she is unable to complete their work tasks. In order to qualify as sexual harassment by law, the harassment must be severe or persistent enough to interfere with the victim’s job. If an employee wishes to prove sexual harassment, he or she must have detailed accounts of all the harassing behavior.

What to Include in Your Sexual Harassment Log

The rule of thumb with recording sexual harassment is that it is better to have too much information than too little. If you are sexually harassed at work, make sure to record any instance of inappropriate behavior. Do not forget to write the names and titles of the individuals involved, what happened and when, and your response to the harassment. There are many different behaviors that may be considered harassment, but sexual harassment often involves:

  • Comments about a person’s body or sexuality;
  • Sexually-explicit jokes or gestures;
  • Unwanted physical contact including hugs or non-sexual touching;
  • Sexually suggestive pictures, posters, calendars or computer backgrounds/screensavers;
  • Derogatory nicknames or slurs;
  • Unsolicited sexual advances or propositions; and
  • Sexually-explicit emails, memos, letters, or notes.

In order to be considred hostile workplace sexual harassment, these behaviors must be severe or unrelenting enough to create an abusive work environment. If an employer, supervisor, or another person of authority offers work benefits in exchange for sexual favors, or if he or she threatens to fire you if you do not submit to sexual requests, this is quid pro quo sexual harassment. This type of harassment may only involve one or two interactions.

It is also important to keep a record of any efforts you have made to stop the behavior. If you spoke to your supervisor about your concerns, make a note of who was present, what was said, and when. Keep a copy of any emails, text messages, or other electronic communications. Doing so will help bolster your case in the event you need to file a formal complaint.

Allegheny County Employment Discrimination Lawyer

If you are sexually harassed at work, you should know that you do not have to face this difficult situation alone. Contact an experienced Pittsburgh sexual harassment lawyer for the legal guidance you need. Call 412-680-7877 to schedule a free, confidential initial consultation at Colianni & Leonard LLC today.



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