Every case of sexual harassment hinges on evidence. Without evidence, your chances of winning are slim to none. But how does a victim gather evidence for a sexual harassment case? And what types of evidence exists to support your sexual harassment case?
First thing you should know is to gather as much evidence as possible. Too many times victims think their case is bullet-proof and therefore don’t need to gather any evidence. But evidence disappears (like documents) or fades (like memory). So no matter what you do, gather as much evidence as possible if you think you have a case for sexual harassment.
There are different types of evidence that can be used in your sexual harassment case, including:
- Documents: This can include emails, texts, notes, or any other written communication that supports your sexual harassment case. Remember to keep a record of any harassing behavior as soon as it occurs.
- Witness Testimony: If anyone saw the harassment take place, their statements can be very helpful. This can include co-workers. Most importantly, this includes your own testimony. That’s why you should take notes as the harassment occurs so you don’t forget facts.
- Physical Evidence: This can include clothing or objects that were used during the harassment, or any physical injuries sustained as a result. If you were hurt and your injuries are visible, pictures are key.
When it comes to gathering evidence, there are several good ways to obtain it, including:
- Keeping a record of any incidents of harassment, including the date, time, location, and details of what happened.
- Talking to witnesses and encouraging them to provide written statements or testimony.
- Keeping any physical evidence, such as clothing or objects, in a safe place.
- Seeking support from a trusted friend or family member.
There are ways your should not gather evidence for a sexual harassment case
- Confronting the harasser directly. This can be dangerous and jeopardize your case.
- Destroying or altering evidence. Never do this. Not only can this hurt your case, but it can also get you in trouble if you’re destroying evidence that is helpful for the other side.
- Not reporting the harassment to the proper authorities, such as your employer or the police.
- Using illegal means to gather evidence. This includes things like accessing files without authorization (or computer systems) or eavesdropping against state law.
In terms of evidence strength, documents are almost always going to be better than testimony. Witness memory can fade and so can that testimony. Documents don’t have that issue. Testimony is still extremely valuable and is used in sexual harassment cases every day. A good attorney will work with you to prepare you to testify in support of your case.
While you gather evidence for a sexual harassment case you should also consult an attorney. Contact the civil rights lawyers at JLC for a free consultation.