Sexual Assault vs. Sexual Harassment
Both men and women can be victims of unwanted sexual advances or sexual acts. While all of these acts are a type of violation, there are two distinct legal terms that should be understood when standing up against sexual mistreatment: sexual assault and sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment lawyer Dan A. Atkerson has represented numerous victims of workplace sexual harassment in Allen, TX, Plano, TX, Frisco, TX, and surrounding areas. He understands the criminal and civil laws in place to protect victims of sexual harassment and sexual assault, and can help victims consider their legal options regarding a sexual harassment claim.
What Is Sexual Assault?
Sexual assault describes intentional physical contact that is sexual in nature, that takes place without a party’s consent. The most known form of sexual assault is rape, but assault also refers to unwanted touching and similar physical acts. A person does not have to resist verbally or physically for sexual contact to be considered assault. If there is not verbal consent, or if the person is intoxicated or otherwise impaired when the sexual contact occurs, that is considered sexual assault.
Criminal Charges for Sexual Assault
Sexual assault is illegal under criminal law, which means that perpetrators can face criminal charges and be punished with incarceration. Individuals who believe that they have been victims of sexual assault should report the act to the local police as soon as possible. If sexual contact takes place at work and individuals are unsure if it is sexual assault, sexual harassment, or both, attorney Dan A. Atkerson can help them consider their legal options.
What Is Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment is a type of sexual discrimination that takes place at work. Sexual harassment describes unwanted sexual conduct from a supervisor or coworker. Sexual harassment can be physical, but it doesn’t have to be. Examples of sexual harassment include:
- Unwelcome sexual advances (making sexual comments, inappropriate touching, etc.)
- Requests for sexual favors
- Sexual displays of offensive material, including inappropriate jokes
An essential aspect of sexual harassment is that it interferes with a person’s ability to perform work duties and creates a hostile work environment. In some cases an employee’s agreement or rejection of sexual conduct has a direct impact on employment decisions (i.e. promises or denials of promotion, raise, etc.).
Civil Claims for Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment is not illegal under criminal laws (unless it involves sexual assault), but it does violate state and federal employment laws. Individuals who believe they have been victims of sexual harassment should work with a knowledgeable sexual harassment lawyer, such as Dan A. Atkerson, to file a civil claim. Civil law allows employees to hold liable employer’s accountable for damages related to sexual harassment, which may include back pay and future pay, costs of looking for new employment, costs of medical treatment or counseling, and emotional distress.
Contact Attorney Dan A. Atkerson
Victims of sexual assault or sexual harassment can work with attorney Dan A. Atkerson to pursue appropriate charges or file a civil claim. To discuss the details of your situation and consider your best course of legal action, send us a message online, or call our law firm at (214) 383-3606.