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How to document sexual violence in the workplace

Legally speaking, workplace sexual harassment refers to any unwelcome sexual conduct or advances within the workplace that create a hostile, offensive and intimidating work environment. These can include continuous belittling or sexually-toned jokes, a workplace exposure to pornographic material and actual sexual assault. Sexual harassment can be committed by individuals of any gender against those of the same or opposite gender.

Fortunately, there are state and federal laws in place that protect individuals from sexual harassment in the workplace. If you are a victim of on-the-job  sexual harassment, it is important that you know how to document the evidence in order to strengthen your case and get the justice you deserve.

When should you document sexual harassment at work?

It is important to gather evidence of sexual harassment as it happens. Write up a detailed account of the incident so you can use it alongside other pieces of evidence when presenting your case. Regardless of how major or minor the incident is, record it. Remember, sexual harassment often starts with benign jokes before spiraling out of control.

What should you include in your sexual harassment journal?

As soon as you are subjected to sexual harassment, write down the day, location and time when it happened. In your report, remember to include the offender, what they said and did as well as the duration of the incident. If the offender touched you inappropriately, be sure to note what area of the body they touched. If you asked the offender to stop but the behavior persisted, document this, as well as how it made you feel. Also, write down the names of those who witnessed the incident. Remember, the more detailed your account is, the better.

Sexual harassment in the workplace can greatly impact the victim’s productivity, self-esteem and mental health. Understanding how to document incidents of sexual harassment can help you build a strong case and file a successful suit against the offender.