4 Mistakes That May Compromise Your Sexual Harassment Claim in New York
Facing sexual harassment is often stressful and degrading. For that reason, these claims are tough to see through because often, the silent blame and pressure gets to victims. Many abandon their claims to make peace and avoid additional stress.
Unfortunately, unless you take certain steps, you may not have a successful claim or be able to hold the harasser accountable. You may continue to suffer harassment and before long, your workplace could become unbearable. Here are four mistakes sexual harassment claimants frequently make in New York and suggestions for avoiding them.
- Avoiding Confrontation
Sexual harassment is often about intimidation. Men may want to keep women in their place or female executives may objectify young male employees. It can also affect marginalized individuals, including homosexual and transgender employees who may face constant harassment or threats over their gender identities or sexuality.
This makes confrontation difficult, if not impossible. It’s important to tell the harasser to stop and document the day and time in writing. Another way to address this is through email. Not only is it clear that the attention was unwelcome, but email provides instant documentation of day, time, and place that you notified the harasser that their behavior was unacceptable. If the harasser is someone other than your supervisor, you can also ask them to confront the offender. All of these actions make it clear that you consider the conditions to be hostile.
- Failing to Report Incident
Like confrontation, this is also difficult for some victims, especially if they feel human resources or their supervisor is not on their side. But if you do not report the incident, you may not have a cause of action.
If you feel like you are in enemy territory, find an ally. While reporting the incident to them may not be enough, they can offer moral support when you talk to your supervisor or human resources. They may have also witnessed the harassment but may not have felt comfortable bringing it up unless you reported it first. This provides another strength to your claim.
- Never Seeking Treatment
Sexual harassment often results in psychological and emotional impacts. If you have pre-existing mental conditions like PTSD or anxiety, these can become substantially worse after harassment.
When these symptoms undermine your quality of life, it’s important to seek professional help. This provides additional documentation of your distress and helps you manage your symptoms during the claim process. If you do not seek help, it may difficult to establish your damages.
- Trusting Human Resources
Human resources departments may mishandle your claim or fail to believe you. You must follow-up with them to see what, if anything, they will do about the harassment. If they do nothing, there could be other parties facing liability in your claim.
Also, it is not up to human resources to determine whether you have a case. Only an attorney offers that expertise. Not only should you consult an attorney if your claim is mishandled or ignored, but also at the start of the reporting process. Unfortunately, these claims are not always taken seriously and it is often the victim who is punished rather than the harasser. Retaining an attorney prepares you for all possibilities.
The Working Solutions Law Firm offers compassionate and aggressive legal representation for victims of sexual harassment in New York. Contact our office to schedule a free case evaluation.