Keeping a Sexual Harassment Log
Experienced Legal Advice for Victims of Sex Harassment in DuPage and Kendall Counties
Because sexual harassment is rarely limited to a single incident, it is important to document incidents as they occur. It is easier to prove your claim of sexual harassment if you are able to cite to specific incidents, and keeping a log of those incidents makes this much easier to accomplish. It is important to consult with an experienced sexual harassment attorney early in the process to learn what to document and what details you should include.
When to Record an Incident
If you are a victim of sexual harassment, you should record each incident as soon as it happens while your memory is fresh. This is true even if you are unsure about whether an incident qualifies as sexual harassment or even if you do not believe you will ever pursue a claim. It is not unusual for sexual harassment to start with comments or behavior that may not seem like harassment, but this behavior may evolve and get worse over time. It will be important to be able to demonstrate a timeline for the harassment and how it has changed and affected you.
What to Write
Do not worry about writing too much. It is better to include too much detail than not enough, as your memory will not be as fresh later, and you may not know what may prove to be important as you address this issue with your employer. Be sure to include all offensive conversations or remarks, any touching or contact of a sexual nature, other types of sexual incidents such as sharing pornography or telling off-color jokes, offensive emails or memos you have received, and any complaints you have made, being sure to include details about when the complaints were made and to whom, what you said, and what your employer's response was. Be sure to keep hard copies of any written communication.
Make sure your log contains as much detail as possible. Include the names and titles of others involved, the dates and times of all incidents, and the names of any witnesses. You should also include documentation of your emotional reaction, as this could become an important part of your claim.
It is also important to keep copies of your performance evaluations. If your employer retaliates against you in the future by denying you a raise or promotion, it will be important to know what your prior employment history has been. Your employer may claim that you were penalized due to poor work performance or other issues and that any actions taken against you were not retaliation for reporting sexual harassment. Keeping records of performance reviews or other documentation of the quality of your work can help rebut an employer's claims that discipline was based on work performance.
Victims of sexual harassment should also record whether they are seeing any medical professionals as a result of the harassment. If you are receiving psychological or psychiatric treatment, you should keep documentation, including any diagnosis you have received and any medications that have been prescribed.
Finally, make sure your log is detailed and thorough. If someone else has to read your log in the future, they should be able to learn what happened and feel as if they were there based on reading your log.
It is possible that you are not the only victim of sexual harassment in your workplace. Try to learn if others have complained of the same or similar behavior. Talk to others you trust at work. This could also have the benefit of keeping you from feeling so isolated, and it can also lend proof to the fact that the offending behavior affected you at the time it occurred.
Contact Our Kendall County Sexual Harassment Attorneys
Our employment discrimination attorneys know all the applicable laws—those related to employment discrimination and those covered by other legislation. Contact a knowledgeable employment discrimination lawyer at 630-665-7300 to discuss filing an employment discrimination claim.