For some people who have endured workplace sexual harassment, gathering evidence of the misconduct they have endured will be the biggest challenge as they prepare for litigation. For others, the hardest part of the process might be establishing the financial value of their claims. It is typically necessary to ask for a specific amount of damages when taking legal action against an employer for sexual harassment in the workplace.
Many people who are concerned about sexual harassment, especially women whose socialization may lead them to undervalue their work and ignore their own suffering, may have a hard time putting a price tag on their claim. How does a worker who has endured harassment on the job determine the value of that misconduct?
Assess career consequences
Sometimes, the easiest way to put a price tag on negative experiences is to look at the direct financial consequences. When it comes to workplace misconduct, the loss of a job, the denial of a promotion and similar consequences would be verifiable financial losses stemming from denied employment opportunities or someone feeling so unsafe on the job that they had to quit.
The greater the provable career consequences of the harassment, the easier it will be for someone to make a claim related to lost economic opportunities. Lost income and also reduced earning potential can contribute quite a bit to the overall value of a claim.
Consider the medical impact of harassment
Every person’s response to workplace sexual harassment is different, but almost everyone will experience significantly elevated levels of personal stress. In some cases, the stress can be so extreme that it can actually contribute to physical symptoms, including cardiac issues and decreased immune response.
Often, experiences of harassment also lead to insomnia, depression and anxiety. Those mental health consequences may take years to fully resolve and can affect someone’s job performance and overall quality of life. The cost of someone’s medical expenses thus far and likely future costs can contribute to the total value of a sexual harassment lawsuit.
Establishing and qualifying the personal, medical and financial consequences of workplace sexual harassment can make it easier for someone to file a claim against the employer that permitted such misconduct to occur. Working with an experienced legal professional can also enhance the likelihood of securing a favorable outcome against a powerful entity.