For any workplace that employs more than fifteen employees, it is against the law to allow sexual harassment to take place in the workplace. However, filing a complaint on a complaint form and sending it to your employer doesn’t mean the sexual harassment will stop.
Despite the law stating that the employer must eliminate sexual harassment in the workplace, it may still persist. In order to be taken seriously by your employer, you need to provide as much evidence as you can to accompany your complaint form. If you don’t have sufficient evidence you will find it hard to prove your case.
How to Win a Workplace Harassment Case
Every employer that has more than 15 employees must follow federal law when it comes to sexual harassment cases. Unfortunately, some employers do not follow the legal guidelines established at the state and federal levels.
If you face sexual harassment in the workplace, you should learn how to win a harassment case by filing a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages.
The first step when addressing sexual harassment at work involves hiring an employment attorney who handles sexual harassment cases. Your lawyer reviews your case to determine the best course of legal action. One of the most important responsibilities of a sexual harassment attorney is to gather and organize persuasive physical evidence. Without enough compelling evidence, you cannot expect to win a civil lawsuit.
What Evidence Do You Need?
Physical evidence that stems from an investigation into a case of sexual harassment at work comes in many forms. Emails and the voice messages left by a co-worker represent two of the most impactful types of physical evidence for sexual harassment cases. Text messages are another powerful source of physical evidence if you can prove the accused party sent the text messages. If you filed a complaint with your employer, make sure to make a copy of the complaint to hand over to your employment lawyer.
In addition to the physical evidence that directly connects a co-worker with one or more acts of sexual harassment, you should also provide your employment attorney with your employer’s policy on sexual harassment. This is usually written as a section in the employee handbook. Witness accounts provided to your employment attorney supports the physical evidence your attorney acquires.
If you are a victim you should keep a safe filled with all the evidence you can so you can prove sexual harassment took place. This can include any of the following:
- photocopies of any emails which are sexually harassing;
- proof of sexual harassment text messages;
- recordings of sexual harassment voice mail messages;
- copy of any complaint you have made in writing to your employer including the complaint form;
- a copy of your employer’s policy on sexual harassment;
- any testimonies received from eye witnesses including co-workers and customers;
- photographic evidence showing sexual harassment.
Types of Damages in a Sexual Harassment Lawsuit
There are two main types of damages claims in a sexual harassment lawsuit which are compensatory damages and punitive damages.
When you have been subjected to sexual harassment in your workplace you may need time off to recover from your ordeal. When you file for damages you can include a number of things related to your employment in your claim such as:
- lost pay;
- lost tips;
- lost bonuses;
- lost commission;
- medical treatment costs.
You may also include a calculation for pain and suffering which is dependent on how the quality of your life has been affected since the sexual harassment has taken place. You may have been losing sleep which can threaten the relationship you have with others in your household. These things can be calculated and included in a damages claim.
These are a bit more difficult to calculate than compensatory damages. This is because they are based on you finding sufficient evidence to prove that your employer was deliberately negligent by not enforcing the no sexual harassment law in the workplace. If s/he allowed your sexual harassment to take place and didn’t either warn you about the defendant before it took place or took action when it did, you have the grounds to file a damages claim so that you get the compensation you deserve.
Punitive damages aren’t easy to calculate unless the employer admitted that sexual harassment was deliberately allowed to take place. Few employers do this, as they think sexual harassment is just part of life and employees willingly take in acts of sexual harassment because it’s the normal thing to do despite the law.
Federal law restricts both the amount of compensatory and punitive damages in sexual harassment cases depending on the size of the employer. For example:
- employers who employ 15-100 employees, the limit is $50,000;
- employers who employ 101-200 employees, the limit is $100,000;
- employers who employ 201-500 employees, the limit is $200,000;
- employers who employ more than 500 employees, the limit is $300,000.
How an Employment Lawyer Can Help
If you think you have been sexually harassed by your supervisor or anyone else in your workplace you should contact an attorney who will decide what the best action is for you to take. You will need to provide all the evidence you have to your chosen attorney including a copy of the complaint form you sent to your employer.
An attorney will understand the claim process and first of all is likely to contact your employer on your behalf to discuss compensation. If this fails and your attorney is ignored the next step is to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission. You have to do this before you are eligible to file a lawsuit for compensation.
The EEOC will act in much the same way as your attorney by contacting your employer to arrange mediation. If this fails you may be legally entitled to file lawsuit to demand compensation for sexual harassment that was not your fault. Your attorney will do his/her best to win a favorable settlement. Complete the Free Case Evaluation today!