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The Legal Basics Of A Sexual Harassment Case

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Sexual harassment is an issue that has come into significant focus in recent years. If you believe you were a victim, there are several issues a sexual harassment attorney will need to discuss with you. Let's take a look at how a lawyer might encourage you to handle a case.

The Process Matters

In most workplaces, there are processes in place to protect the company, the accused, and you from the situation spiraling out of control. The first question an attorney will ask you in such circumstances is whether you've filed a formal complaint. Doing so initiates a review process.

If you haven't already submitted a complaint, then you should collect as much information as possible. This includes providing your attorney with the names of company officers who handle HR matters, any potential witnesses and the accused. Likewise, if possible, try to log the times when harassment occurs. If you can't provide precise times, do your best to recall when you think incidents may have happened. When in doubt, make a note of your doubts about the timing.

If you have submitted a complaint, make copies of all the documentation. Provide these to your lawyer.

Is It Sexual Harassment?

It's not illegal to make a single poorly received remark, even if it seems highly offensive. There are two common forms of sexual harassment claims that tend to hold water.

First, there is the full-on quid pro quo offer. In this situation, someone directly offers you something of value, such as a raise or a job assignment, in exchange for a sexual favor.

Second, there is harassment as a pattern of behavior. In this situation, someone at your company regularly makes sexual remarks that make the workplace uncomfortable. Documentation and process matter a lot in these cases. Defendants and companies will often assert that they weren't given any notification that harassment was happening and that they would've taken corrective action if informed. By getting complaints on the record, you can develop an argument that this sort of action wasn't taken.

How to Conduct Yourself

Do not get involved in discussions about the behavior with the accused, with coworkers, on social media or with friends. If an issue does need to be raised with the company or the defendant, use your sexual harassment attorney as a buffer. Likewise, closely monitor how the company responds to your inquiry and inform your lawyer of all developments.

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