In New York City, sexual harassment is considered a form of unlawful sex discrimination. In order to assert a claim for sexual harassment in court, a complainant must provide evidence of the allegedly harassing behavior. State and federal rules of evidence, along with state laws dealing with recordings of conversations and phone calls, outline methods for preserving and presenting evidence of sexual harassment.
Forms of Sexual Harassment
The law defines sexual harassment as either (1) requests or demands for some sort of sexual activity as a condition for obtaining or keeping employment, or favorable workplace treatment; or (2) unwelcome sexual conduct that creates a hostile work environment. Sexual harassment often takes the form of verbal or written communications, as well as physical conduct like unwanted touching, groping, or more. A complainant can offer evidence in the form of eyewitness testimony, written communications, and recordings of conversations or exchanges, subject to evidentiary rules and state law.
Rule 801 of the Federal Rules of Evidence is perhaps best summarized as a restriction on the use of out-of-court statements as evidence in court. It has many exceptions and a very important exclusion: statements by an “opposing party,” such as a defendant, are not considered hearsay and are therefore admissible as evidence. Fed. R. Ev. 801(d)(2).