What Is a Sexual Harassment Log and How Can It Help Victims?
Sexual harassment falls into two main categories. The first involves a manager, supervisor, or employer attempting to use his or her position as a means of gaining sexual favors from an applicant or current employee. The other category involves inappropriate actions that create a “hostile work environment.” In order to prove that you have been a victim of hostile work environment sexual harassment according to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, you and your attorney will need to demonstrate that the harassment was “sufficiently severe or pervasive” to create an abusive workplace. Keeping a sexual harassment log is often the best way to ensure that you have accurate records of harassing incidents or behaviors.
Record Every Instance of Harassment
A single inappropriate joke or remark most likely will not constitute sexual harassment according to the law. However, an employee should speak up about any statements and behaviors that are disparaging or discriminatory in nature. Even if these actions do not represent sexual harassment in the legal sense, they are still unacceptable. When discriminatory, derogatory, or offensive remarks or behavior become so commonplace that they change the nature of the work environment, the victim may have a valid sexual harassment claim. The best way to ensure that you will have the evidence you need for a sexual harassment complaint is to create a sexual harassment log. In your records, make sure to include information about:
The date and time of the harassment
The identity and title of the perpetrator
Who was witness to the harassment
A detailed account of what was said or done
Your reaction to the harassment
It is also a good idea to keep copies of any performance evaluations you receive during the time that you have been harassed. Some employers attempt to use unwarranted poor performance evaluations as an excuse to terminate employees who report sexual harassment.
Filing a Sexual Harassment Complaint
If you have experienced sexual harassment, the first thing you should do is tell the perpetrator to stop. If he or she continues the harassing behavior, report the situation to the appropriate individual or department. Often, this is a human resources employee or supervisor. If your employer does nothing to resolve the situation, you may need to report the harassment to the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Contact a DuPage County Sexual Harassment Lawyer
Illinois employers have a legal obligation to keep workplaces free from any type of discrimination and harassment. If you have been a victim of discrimination or harassment or your employer retaliated against your for reporting harassment, contact MKFM Law. Call us today at 630-665-7300 today to schedule a confidential consultation with one of our reputable Wheaton sexual harassment attorneys.