Sexual harassment is an offense that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This offense is one that ranges from verbal to physical sexual conduct, requests for sexual favors, uncomfortably suggestive acts, and more that affects the employee in a workplace environment. On the other hand, sexual assault, equally a grave offense, is characterized by intent. Sexual assault is an intentional sexual contact characterized by the use of force, intimidation, abuse of power, threats, and more.
The fine line between sexual harassment and sexual assault is defined, in the case of sexual assault, by an individual effectuating the intent, threat, advance, or request for sexual favors.
An understanding of sexual harassment and assault by employees and employers is essential for keeping a workplace environment safe for all.
What constitutes workplace sexual assault?
In explicit terms, workplace sexual assault is unwanted and unwelcome sexual advances in the workplace. These advances may take many forms including;
– Using threat or coercion to gain access to sexual activities,
– Forced fondling,
– Forced kissing,
– Forcible oral and/or anal intercourse,
– Aggravated, abusive, or wrongful contact between the abuser’s hands, mouth, or genitals with the victim’s body,
– Touching a person with an object without consent
– Sexually or suggestively touching the victim
– Grabbing of the victim without their permission
– Forcibly showing content of sexual nature, whether videos or photos, to an unwilling victim
– Attempts to commit any of these acts.
It is important to understand that sexual assault is an illegal bodily violation of the victim and this may harm them. Additionally, sexual assault in the workplace is a gender-neutral offense that may be perpetrated by any gender towards any gender.
Victims of sexual assault can also take actionable legal steps that involve taking the perpetrator or offender to court for prosecution.
What defines workplace sexual assault?
Defense attorneys for accused persons in sexual assault cases may sometimes try to argue about consent or that the victim’s silence was taken for consent. However, many states are beginning to revisit the matter of consent and placing value on verbal acceptance or agreement over actions. This means that the lack of verbal agreement, submission, or the presence of physical resistance by the victim leading to the use of threat, force, or coercion by the defendant constitutes a lack of consent.
Reporting Sexual Assault in the workplace
A victim of sexual assault may begin by reporting the case to the police and giving a detailed account of the events that transpired. In the case of a workplace rape or any other type of severe sexual assault, victims must know that there is always a statute of limitation on such cases and this requires them to act fast by reporting the case to the police, a supervisor or the employer, as well as a lawyer.
Please note that the earlier a report is made, the higher the chances of gathering evidence to back the claim.
When do I need to hire a lawyer?
Simply firing an offender from his or her job may not serve justice to the victim. In other cases, the offender may be spared and allowed to keep his or her job thus putting the victim in a further compromising condition.
When such happens, or when the victim has lost faith in the power of the employer, hiring an attorney is the best line of action. Your attorney will take a careful look at the case and help you to navigate the complex legal process in an attempt to secure justice for you.
Contact – Cannon & Associates: Oklahoma Fierce Advocates for Workplace Sexual Assault Victims
At Cannon & Associates, our attorneys have the experience and expertise needed to navigate the complex world of workplace sexual assault. We will throw our strength, expertise, and resources behind your case to get you justice.
Founder John Cannon has been recognized as a Super Lawyer and our team is Fierce Advocates for victims of sexual assault in the workplace and beyond. Contact Cannon & Associates by completing the CONTACT FORM ON THIS PAGE NOW or CALL at (405) 906-4051 for a free confidential case evaluation.