Because a sexual harassment case can be incredibly emotional (more so than any other case perhaps), it would be very easy to make a mistake in the proceedings. Here's a look at some of the most common mistakes made when filing a sexual harassment case, and what you can do to avoid them.
Mistake #1: Not Documenting Harassment
With any sort of legal proceedings, having proper documentation is crucial. This is even more true for a sexual harassment case. Save any letters or e-mail related to the harassment, and even document other negative incidents like demotions or reprimands, since these could show mistreatment related to your actions. Many times, a case like this will devolve into one person's word against another. It can be difficult to recall details in a time like this, so having written evidence is key.
Mistake #2: Not Reporting Harassment Early
Several states actually have laws that laws that can limit damages if a sexual harassment claim isn't reported in a timely manner. If you wait to make a case, your employer can claim you didn't take advantage of the workplace sexual harassment policy and therefore they're not liable for damages. It's very important for a victim of sexual harassment to make their claim as soon as something happens. It's natural to feel embarrassed or angry in a time like this, but don't let these emotions stop you from making a claim. The last thing you want is for someone to stay out of trouble on a sort of technicality.
Mistake #3: Not Following Up On Your Complaint
Once a claim is made, your employer is legally obligated to follow up on it, whether they think it's valid or not. An employer must take "reasonable steps" to prevent harassment, and must impose consequences designed to improve conditions. Once you have filed a claim, follow up to make sure your employer is doing their part. If they aren't, that makes your case much more valid, and makes the employer much more liable.
It's never easy to address sexual harassment, and it's not something you should try to do alone. Hiring a sexual harassment attorney will not only take the stress and pressure off of you, but will likely increase your chances of a successful case. An attorney has likely dealt with plenty of cases just like yours before, and they know exactly what it takes to make the case run smoothly and efficiently.