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How do you prove you’re the victim of sexual harassment?

On Behalf of | Jun 2, 2017 | Firm News, Sexual Harassment |

Quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when someone of authority straight out asks for sexual favors from someone of lesser authority. As a “reward,” the target of the request gets to keep his or her job, gets a promotion, avoids a reprimand or obtains some other job-related benefit from the harasser.

If you happen to be the victim of that sort of scenario, there’s some good news and bad news you need to know.

The good news is that, unlike a hostile work environment where there usually has to be a pattern of events in order to show harassment, quid pro quo only requires one event to make a solid case.

The bad news is that there’s seldom a “smoking gun” — some piece of available evidence that will prove your case. Most harassers are canny enough to not make their suggestions through the company email or proposition you right at your desk where everyone can see and hear.

In the court, winning a case often comes down to convincing evidence and credibility. Convincing evidence may be a few text messages between you and your boss where your boss was suggestive or an eye-witness to some exchange between you. More often than not, however, your convincing evidence is something like your work records crossed with your own personal journal of events.

For example, say you took your boss’s hand off your knee and politely declined his offer of a “few drinks” together, then found yourself pink-slipped for a bad performance two days later — even though your work had brought no complaints up to that point. That firing, along with your notes or diary where you record the sexual behavior, can help you tremendously in court.

Your credibility is another factor. How you present yourself in court, the more clearly you can articulate what happened to you and why, the more bluntly honest your story seems to listeners, the more credibility you are likely to gain in court. Again, your journal helps with your credibility because it helps boost your memory of events.

Don’t assume that you can’t prove a quid pro quo sexual harassment or wrongful termination case without definitive evidence that harassment happened — that evidence seldom exists. Trust your attorney to help you through this difficult process.

Source: FindLaw, “What is Quid Pro Quo Harassment?,” accessed June 02, 2017