Freedom from sexual harassment is encoded in Illinois law under the Illinois Human Rights Act. Unfortunately, that does not always prevent people from being sexually harassed at work. A shocking half of all women have been the recipient of unwanted verbal or physical sexual harassment at work, but a very small portion of the victims in these cases hire a lawyer and go to court.
Proving sexual harassment can be difficult as it often comes down to relying on individual witness testimony, and it can be hard to judge whether one witness is more credible than another. Adding to the difficulty, the law requires the individual’s behavior to be “severe or pervasive” to qualify as “hostile work environment” sexual harassment. This standard is subjective – meaning it is open to fairly wide interpretation – and different judges have interpreted it differently.
Keep a Log of the Harassment
If you are the victim of sexual harassment or retaliation and interested in pursuing a case against your harasser, documenting each incident and keeping records of the harassment can help. It may not be pleasant to do so, but the goal is to stop the harassment – whatever it takes. The following are some examples of details to write down:
- Who – The name and job title of the person doing the harassing
- What – Explicit details of what the person said or did
- When – The date and time in which the harassment took place
- Where – The location in which the harassment took place
- Witness – Anyone who saw or heard what the harasser did
- Documents – Any emails, text messages, notes, or videos sent by the harasser
You should keep multiple copies of the log documenting the harassment, and when you file your complaint, submit copies to your employer or company. If you feel you have experienced retaliation as a consequence of reporting the sexual harassment, keep a log – this is illegal behavior as well.
You can also talk to co-workers and get their permission to help you speak up or document the sexual harassment. It is not uncommon for abusers to be harassing more than one person in the workplace, and often nobody will know until one person speaks up.
Contact an Experienced DuPage County Sexual Harassment Attorney
Sexual harassment is unlawful under Illinois and federal law. When an employer fails to take appropriate steps to stop sexual harassment or retaliates against an employee for reporting sexual harassment, the employee may pursue legal action. The employee may be entitled to back pay and other monetary damages. You don’t have to face harassment alone – we are here to help. Call an experienced and compassionate Illinois sexual harassment lawyer with Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC at 630-665-7300.