Have you been having a rough time at work due to sexual harassment, racial discrimination, wage and hour violations, retaliation, or some other problem? If so, you may have ample legal recourse to change your situation and even win substantial damages.
To build a powerful case, however, you need evidence. One excellent way to gather evidence is to keep a private journal or diary of your experience at work. This essay will introduce you to the basics of journaling and give you additional resources to make progress.
Keeping a journal requires discipline. It may actually feel painful to put down in words the nasty things that a co-worker said to you or to diagram the intimidating things that your boss recently did. But if you can muster the courage and discipline to start a journal — and to review it regularly for lessons — you will enjoy multiple benefits from this introspection.
Here are a few principles to help you get started:
1. Avoid journaling on your workplace computer.
Better safe than sorry: you don’t want confidential, potentially embarrassing information to get leaked to the rest of your firm or stolen/erased off your computer. Keep your information private. And store a backup of your journal as well as any documents that you believe might be relevant.
2. Separate your observations from your emotions.
When we diary or journal, we can easily jumble up what we see objectively with our reactions to events. Separating facts from emotions is useful, if you ever need to leverage your observations as evidence. It’s also a good practice to help you understand yourself better and make positive changes. For instance, instead of writing “my boss harassed me at work today,” note precisely what your boss did that you interpreted as harassment. Imagine that you are a video camera — or a stenographer — recording the events. For instance, you might write: “at 10.23 am, my boss said ‘your pants look super tight today’ and then he winked at me.” Do you see the difference there? When you say “my boss harassed me,” you are mixing your judgments with the facts on the ground. When you say something objectively true like “he said ‘your jeans look super tight’ and then winked at me,” you are being much more specific. This specificity will give you ammunition to bring a case and/or work through internal channels to get the behavior to stop.
3. Take time, on a regular basis, to review your journal, identify patterns, and use the information you collect to make your life more productive, enjoyable and free from annoyances.
For instance, after several weeks of writing about your work life, you might notice that you have a terrible time every time you eat lunch with a certain co-worker. The co-worker just really rubs you the wrong way. Noticing this trend, you can then work towards keeping that person out of your life.
Of course, you cannot solve all of your problems on your own. Even if your situation is egregious, it may behoove you to get a free consultation from the employment law team at Joseph & Kirschenbaum. Learn more about our background and capabilities at www.jhllp.com, or give us a call right now for a free consultation at (212) 688-5640.