It seems as if you can’t turn on the news or scroll through your social media feed without seeing some kind of “breaking news” about a powerful man losing his job over allegations of sexual misconduct. Earlier this week, Matt Lauer became the latest celebrity figure to lose his job for this reason. Lauer, a now-former host of NBC’s Today Show, was terminated after a co-worker stepped forward and provided a detailed account of the “egregious acts of sexual harassment and misconduct” she suffered because of Lauer.
It took less than 35 hours for NBC review, investigate, and cut ties with Lauer after the sexual misconduct report was filed. Very few cases are handled this quickly and, many times, allegations of sexual misconduct in the workplace boil down to cases of “he-said, she-said.” When a victim files a sexual harassment lawsuit, this can make it very difficult to secure a victory. In Lauer’s case, the victim may have had additional evidence to substantiate her claim.
Evidence in Sexual Harassment Cases
What kind of evidence did Lauer’s accuser have that caused NBC to act so swiftly? What kind of evidence and/or details will be helpful when a victim of sexual harassment decides to make a formal complaint? In California, victims of sexual assault can support sexual assault allegations by providing any of the following:
Emails, texts, and social media posts. Not all sexual misconduct is physical. In many cases, sexual harassment occurs when an employer or supervisor engages in improper verbal and/or written behavior. Copies of emails, text messages, and/or social media posts that display or indicate sexual misconduct can be very helpful in a sexual harassment case.
Photographs and videos. Many companies are equipped with security cameras to keep an eye on patrons, employees, and visitors. While the primary purpose of these cameras is generally to deter or combat theft, the footage captured on these cameras may also be useful as evidence in a sexual harassment case. Check security cameras to see if your employer’s or supervisor’s unwanted sexual advances or inappropriate behavior was caught on film. Victims may also decide to photograph or videotape their employer’s sexual misconduct.
Voicemails and Recordings. Voicemails and voice recordings can be just as helpful visual aids in a sexual harassment case. If your employer leaves an incriminating voicemail do not delete them. Instead, mark them as important and save them as evidence.
Witness testimony. Some types of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct are so blatant that it is impossible to miss. Gathering statements and testimony from others who have witnessed your harassment – or similar behavior – is a great way to support your claim.
Victims Should Document Their Experiences
If you are the victim of sexual assault in the workplace you should document your experience. Try keeping a journal and write down any incidents that make you feel uncomfortable, unsafe, or threatened. Your notes will be helpful in the future when you have forgotten certain details about your employer’s behavior. You can refer back to your notes, refresh your memory, and gain clarity. When you hire a sexual harassment attorney, they can review your notes for details that you may not think are important or relevant. Sometimes your notes can indicate a pattern of abuse or additional behaviors that can support your claim.
Are you a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace and are considering filing a formal complaint? Contact the San Jose sexual harassment lawyers at the Briski Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation. We will review your case, explain your legal rights as an employee, and answer any questions you have.