Sexual harassment cases are often difficult to prove for a host of reasons. One of the issues that many people have is that the commonplace definition of sexual harassment often encompasses more events and types of actions than the legal definition. This makes it hard for a layperson to understand what types of activities would warrant legal action.
When it comes to sexual harassment, general claims are more difficult to prove than quid pro quo claims. This is because general sexual harassment claims would likely need to include more than one event in order to be considered actual sexual harassment in a court. Of course, one single event that is very serious in nature could be used to present an effective case.
Quid pro quo claims are often easier to prove than others because there would have been some blatant communication that said “if you do this specific sexual favor, you will get this specific employment reward.” Of course, it is possible that even these claims will be difficult to prove because the communication might be only verbal.
The burden of proof on the plaintiff in sexual harassment cases is high. This is the main reason why weaker claims regarding sexual harassment might not make it through the court system and result in a positive ruling for the plaintiff.
In California, companies have a legal obligation to take steps to prevent sexual harassment. If those steps aren’t in place, a sexual harassment claim might be a bit easier to prove. People who are being sexually harassed shouldn’t hesitate to take action, even if the case will be difficult to prove. Instead, work with someone familiar with these cases so that all appropriate methods of showing proof can be executed in your case.
Source: CNN, “What makes sex harassment cases tough to win,” Danny Cevallos, accessed Aug. 19, 2016