In this article, an experienced Costa Mesa employment lawyer illustrates how a deposition might be structured in a harassment case.
What Happened and When
When harassment takes place over a prolonged period of time, it becomes difficult to pinpoint when each incident occurred. Even if you cannot recall specific times and dates, you must be able to describe what happened each time you were harassed. It is also extremely important that you do this without recourse to notes, documents or other paperwork or hints from your attorney. These descriptions must come from you. Practice will be essential if you are to be adequately prepared to answer questions from the attorneys representing the opposition and you are urged to make time to form responses to such inquiries as you might expect to face.
Q. Beginning with the first incident, would you please specify each time you feel you were subjected to harassment?
A. There were many incidents, and I can’t be sure of the sequence. I can tell you what happened, so that you understand what I had to endure. I was frequently asked by my supervisor about the kind of underwear I had on or if I was wearing any at all. He looked pointedly at my breasts and made remarks about their size. He even went so far as to ask me if I was intimate with anyone when I was on vacation. The expression he used was “got laid.” None of my male coworkers had to put up with anything like that.
A Word of Caution
In a situation where you were harassed many times, it may be difficult to be certain that you covered each incident. To prevent omissions and be fully prepared you should take the time to think carefully, list each incident on paper and compare your testimony to what you have written down.
Organizing Your Testimony
You can organize your testimony in one of two possible ways. The first is by describing each incident as it occurred chronologically, assuming you can be reasonably sure of the correct dates and times. The second is in order of magnitude, listing each incident from the most serious to the least serious. For example, an account of a coworker or supervisor physically putting his hands on you in a sexually suggestive manner would be more serious than a verbal comment.
If you feel that you have been subjected to discrimination, harassment or retaliation, seek representation now. Call Daily Aljian LLP at 949-861-2524 today.