Sexual harassment in 2021 and beyond often takes place on the phone. For instance, maybe a co-worker expressed interest in you in the past, and you turned them down. Now they ignore you at work — which is fine with you — but they sometimes send you explicit pictures or text messages when they’ve been drinking. This happens both during and after work hours.
Your natural inclination, of course, is to delete the picture or the message. You never asked for it. You never wanted to see it. That’s certainly not the type of thing you want to be saved on your device — especially if you are in a relationship and you worry about your partner finding it.
Deleting a harassing message is a mistake
Even though it feels like the right idea, deleting it can actually be a mistake. If this is the type of workplace sexual harassment that is going to lead to a lawsuit, documentation is very important. What you actually want to do is take a screenshot of the message so that you:
- Have your own copy, which the other person can’t delete
- Have clear proof of who sent it to you
- Have other information, such as the date on which it was sent or what time it was
- Have documentation of your response, if applicable, and the fact that you never encouraged this type of behavior
What you’re trying to do is get ahead of the excuses the other person may make. They could claim you liked the picture or that you wanted them to send it. They could claim they never sent it. No matter what course they take, having documented proof gives you the edge as you move through the legal process.