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Why Harassment Is So Difficult to Prove in the Workplace

a woman feeling sad in front of coworkers

The workplace is meant to be a safe place for people to earn a living for themselves and their families, but this sadly isn’t the case for everyone. Many employees across the country face harassment in the workplace – impacting their mental wellbeing and work performance. Unfortunately, simply reporting a sexual harassment incident isn’t always enough, since proving harassment can be challenging. Our Alabama employment law attorneys outline the challenges in proving harassment below.

Types of Harassment

There are numerous types of harassment that have been observed in the workplace. Some forms are more striking, while others may even go unnoticed. While anyone has the potential to be harassed, here are some of the most commonly occurring harassment cases in the workplace:

  • Sexual harassmentis the most common form of harassment observed in the workplace today. This includes unwanted physical advances, requests or demands for sexual favors (both overt or quid pro quo), discussing sexually explicit topics at work, stalking, and sending unwanted texts or images.
  • Disability harassment occurs when those with physical or mental disabilities are mocked, taken advantage of, or even denied a job based on their disability. This includes those with both permanent and temporary disabilities.
  • Racial discrimination includes anything from “innocent jokes” to mocking an individual’s accent, as well as derogatory language and threats based on a coworker’s race or ethnicity.
  • Ageism is one type of harassment that is becoming more common among older employees. It takes the form of job denials due to their age, discounting their abilities, changing their job duties unnecessarily, and making derogatory comments.
  • Harassment based on gender and sexual orientation consists of derogatory, offensive, and demeaning remarks, as well as verbal/physical threats based on a person’s gender or sexual orientation.

Why Harassment Is Hard to Prove

Even if you are enduring blatant harassment from a superior or coworker, proving your case may be harder than you originally anticipated. One of the main reasons for this is the fact that the perpetrators of these incidents can make their offenses as subtle or overt as they want. This can make proving the subtle cases difficult if there is little evidence to be observed.

It is also your word against anyone or even everyone else’s, that’s why there are a number of things to keep in mind when proving your case.

  • Establish a timeline of events: Creating a journal to keep track of all the unlawful actions your superior or coworker has committed against you can help you best recount their actions in court.
  • Gather all evidence of the harassment: This includes all relevant information on the incident(s) you are reporting such as any documentation, text messages, emails, or other forms of written/electronic communication. This should be done before you file your report, as well as the months following to ensure you have as much information to present to the court as possible.
  • Contact an attorney: Arguably one of the most important items to consider. Consulting with experienced legal guidance can help you not only determine the best course of action, but give you all the tools you need for efficient and effective proceedings.

Contact Our Alabama Workplace Harassment Team Today

No one should have to endure harassment at their job. That’s why we are committed to tirelessly advocating for you and your rights and helping you seek the effective legal action needed to gain the justice you deserve.

If you or a loved one has experienced harassment in your workplace, do not hesitate to contact us today through our website or give us a call at (205) 265-1880 to discuss your case today.