Sexual harassment can ruin people’s lives. Whether in the form of generalized comments, directed and explicit remarks, or even physical action, sexual harassment can leave an individual with serious mental health problems that last long after the end of the harassment. That’s why a sexual harassment lawsuit is such a serious one. If you think you’ve experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, here’s a step-by-step guide to filing a lawsuit.
1. Understand What Sexual Harassment Entails
What is sexual harassment? You may have a fairly narrow understanding, but according to https://www.wmlawyers.com, sexual harassment actually includes all of these behaviors:
- Sexual jokes
- Sexual comments
- Unwanted touching
- Showing people sexually explicit pictures
- A request for sexual favors in exchange for employment
- Off-color jokes
- Inappropriate remarks
If you’ve experienced any of these, especially as a pattern of behavior, it may constitute sexual harassment. It’s a good idea to talk to a lawyer or otherwise discuss the behavior with someone else to make sure before you file a complaint.
2. Document the Sexual Harassment As Early As Possible
You want to make a document of the sexual harassment as soon as possible. This is important for two reasons: first, it helps you remember the dates of the harassment. Second, it ensures that you have a truthful memory. Relying exclusively on your memory may lead to changes in recollection because the human memory is fairly malleable. The defense attorney can use this to try and discredit you. If you have a written record of what happened, you’re less likely to have lapses in memory.
3. File Your Case Appropriately
When you file your case, you need to make sure you’re doing it in the right way. There are two organizations you can file with as a precursor to filing a lawsuit: the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. There are certain time limits for filing, including 180 calendar days for the EEOC, so make sure you’re paying attention to these limits.
4. Make Sure You’re Staying Safe
Lastly, it’s important to take care of yourself through this process. Going through sexual harassment is difficult, but going through a lawsuit about sexual harassment can be even more so. You may need to give a testimony multiple times, go through cross-examinations, and more. That’s why it’s so important to take time for yourself and make sure you’re staying safe. Having an attorney who can handle most of the busywork is a great element of self-care to partake in through this process.
At the end of the day, a sexual harassment lawsuit won’t make the event not happen in the future. What it will do is make it easier for you to recover and hopefully make the other individual face some sort of consequences. If you’re planning to bring a sexual harassment lawsuit, make sure you have the help of an attorney. Even the slightest misstep can be disastrous for an otherwise legitimate claim.