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3 ways to gather evidence of workplace sexual harassment

On Behalf of | Apr 24, 2024 | Employment Law

For a worker to hold their employer accountable for sexual harassment, they have to prove what they have experienced. Often, the worst harassment occurs behind closed doors. Therefore, it can be very difficult for someone experiencing a hostile work environment or quid pro quo harassment on the part of a supervisor to authoritatively prove what has occurred. They need to document the harassment they experience if they hope to prompt the company into taking action or aspire to file a lawsuit.

What are some of the more common ways for people to gather evidence of workplace sexual harassment in Michigan?

With audio or video recordings

Michigan is technically a one-party consent state for the purposes of recording private conversations and interactions. However, for someone to avoid violating anti-eavesdropping laws, they must be an active participant in a conversation to make a legal recording. Someone experiencing quid pro quo harassment behind closed doors could potentially use a mobile phone or other recording device to capture audio or video records of the misconduct they have experienced in the workplace.

With a detailed journal

Many work environments do not lend themselves to recordings due to privacy laws and company policies. Therefore, it is unrealistic to expect to capture an incident as it occurs without the other party noticing that someone has started recording. Someone experiencing regular hostilities or quid pro quo harassment at work could keep a journal instead. Keeping thorough records of when and where an incident occurred, as well as all other relevant details, can help establish a pattern of behavior and may even make it easier to validate certain incidents.

Through conversations with coworkers

Many working environments are not as secure or soundproof as people think. Coworkers may hear things through closed doors or on the other side of a cubicle wall. Noticing who is around after experiencing harassment and talking to them briefly can benefit the person experiencing harassment. They can include details about what that witness saw or overheard in their personal records. That witness could also potentially corroborate their claims in the future. While they might not recall the details of the incidents without prompting, a conversation might lead to better recall after the fact.

Gathering proof of workplace sexual harassment is crucial to making informed decisions. The sooner someone starts documenting the misconduct they have endured, the sooner they may be in a solid position to take legal action.