You may think that if you don’t have direct proof of hostile workplace, like a photograph or a video or an audio recording or a witness, then a lawyer won’t take your case because he won’t be able to prove it. But that’s not correct. Most sexual harassment cases lack direct proof, but it is still possible to win significant money damages from the employer.
The most important evidence a hostile workplace victim can give is her (or his) own testimony. What this means is that from the first moment you make your complaint and tell your story, you must tell the truth. You must not change or shade facts because you think they might undermine your credibility. What undermines your credibility is getting caught in a lie. After that happens, nobody will believe you no matter what you say. An experienced lawyer can help you present your case and explain any difficult points to the fact finder, but a lawyer can’t help you unless you tell the truth. Ultimately if you are a credible witness you can win your case even if you have no other proof.
If you are being mistreated at work based on your race, gender, age or disability in a way that you find intolerable, you can keep a diary in which you write down all the dates and times and details of what happens to you. One of the most important factors in your credibility is if you can provide very specific details about what, when and where it happened to you, so that the details you give can be checked and verified. A diary can help you do that. You can also write down how your feelings change because of the harassment, and changes that happen in your life (like changes in eating or sleeping patterns, or changes in behavior towards others). People around you should be able to verify these changes. You can consult a medical doctor or psychologist or counselor to talk about what is happening to you, and you can talk to friends and family about it. All of these things are circumstantial evidence that you may be able to use to prove your case.
Those who abuse others on the basis of race, gender, age or disability often have many victims, not just you. You should find out whether other people in your workplace, current or past employees, may have been victims of similar treatment. If so, your attorney may be able to identify patterns of conduct that you can use to prove your case, or such evidence may be helpful in supporting a case for punitive damages.