Legal Issues

Examining the Costs and Differences Between Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault at Work

Anecdotal evidence would strongly suggest that sexual harassment is almost routinely prevalent in the workplace and incidents of sexual assaults are also far more commonplace than is perceived to be the case.

The fact that dedicated sex crime attorneys tend to have a full caseload to work their way through on a regular basis also points to the scale of the problem in the workplace.

Here is a look at some of the fundamental differences between the two and the cost, which is not just financial but emotional too.

Sexual harassment

Every person has the right to carry out their work without being subjected to unwelcome sexual advances and even casual requests for sexual favors. 

Some examples of harassment are more threatening and intimiating than others. Being threatened with losing your job if you don’t comply with a sexual request issued by someone in a more senior position is never acceptable, however casually the suggestion is put forward.

In general terms, sexual harassment is classed as illegal sex discrimination under the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

If your rejection of these unwanted advances affects your employment or you are overlooked for progression because the harassment was combatted with a refusal and complaint, this is a clear example of sexual harassment.

Sexual assault

As you might gather from the description, a sexual assault charge tends to be the more serious of the two actions and it describes a scenario where you are subjected to intentional sexual contact that was not invited.

It is important to understand that even if the victim does not resist the assault for a variety of valid reasons, such as feeling physically incapable or because they are concerned about the consequences of refusing the assault, this does not mean that consent has been implied.

It is important to understand that while sexual harassment may be considered illegal in the context of your work environment there is a possibility that the harassment might not be viewed as illegal under criminal law.

In comparison, sexual assault is deemed to be a criminal offense irrespective of the existence of an employee and employer relationship, or between colleagues.

There is also the distinct possibility that a victim could be subjected to both sexual harassment and sexual assault at their workplace.

It would be a good idea to seek out professional legal guidance to clarify the circumstances of an alleged sexual harassment or assault case so that it can be determined how to proceed and which laws have been contravened.

The cost of sexual harassment and assault

If you are looking at pursuing a claim related to sexual harassment or assault you can discuss the prospect of filing discrimination charges with your appointed sex crime lawyer here.

They can talk you through the financial implications and costs of a sexual harassment or assault claim.

It is also worth saying that there is a psychological cost attached to this type of situation in the workplace. That should never be underestimated.

Victims may feel nervous and hesitant about filing a claim but once they have talked through the circumstances with their lawyer it will help to clarify why this unacceptable aspect of employment needs to be flagged and action is taken to prevent the perpetrator from repeating their actions.

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