Sometimes, proving sexual harassment at work is as simple as forwarding an email from your supervisor to your personal account. Other times, the person harassing you has taken great pains to limit who is aware of their misconduct.
Many supervisors who sexually harass their subordinates, for example, will only make inappropriate statements when there is no one else around. That leaves you in a position where you feel claims of a he-said, she-said scenario with no hope of a favorable outcome.
However, you can actually document what you endure on the job to develop a claim of harassment and hold someone accountable for mistreating you behind closed doors.
How do you document sexual harassment?
The simplest way to document interpersonal misconduct is to keep a private, written record. Any worker wanting to record sexual harassment on the job can purchase a small, pocket-size notebook for that explicit purpose. It is important that any resources you use for personal records are not from your employer but are instead your own.
Beyond that, you certainly don’t want to pull out your notebook and write things down in front of the person harassing you. You should wait until you have a private moment after the interaction and then record exactly what they said, who was present, where you were and what time everything transpired. The more details you have and the more incidents you record, the easier of a time you’ll have proving the misconduct later.
You can use those records when making a complaint to human resources internally or when taking legal action against the company for its failure to protect you or retaliation against you for reporting the issue.
Consider talking with your co-workers
While you certainly don’t want to start gossip about your supervisor, you may try talking with one or two co-workers you trust about what you have endured. They may have had similar experiences that can help you put what has happened into better perspective, or they could at least be in a position to corroborate your claims later that you found the situation distressing and sought help and advice.
Bringing a sexual harassment claim at work can leave you vulnerable to retaliation and make you feel very nervous. Getting the right help and advice before initiating a sexual harassment claim can help you avoid common mistakes made during the process.