Sexual Harassment vs. Sexual Assault

Sexual harassment and sexual assault are two terms that many people use interchangeably. However, these are two distinct offenses with different legal processes and remedies. Understanding the difference between sexual harassment and sexual assault is crucial. With that said, if you have been a victim of workplace sexual harassment or assault, do not hesitate to contact our New Jersey employment lawyer at the Trabosh Law Firm.  

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is a type of sex discrimination that violates civil laws. Sexual harassment is when someone makes unwanted sexual advances toward you. It is when someone asks you to perform sex acts in exchange for something or harasses you in any other sexual way. However, even if the harassment is not of a sexual nature, it can still be considered sexual harassment. For instance, if someone makes an offensive remark or comment about another person’s sex, it is considered sexual harassment.

In the workplace, there are two forms of sexual harassment;

  • Hostile work environment: This form of sexual harassment involves conduct that makes the victim’s work atmosphere intimidating. The following are some acts that can lead to a hostile work environment;
  • Making offensive jokes or comments about someone’s sexuality
  • Sending inappropriate messages or photos
  • Unwanted sexual contact, such as rubbing or groping
  • Unwanted flirtation
  • Quid pro quo: This form of harassment occurs when an authority figure offers or hints that they will give an employee something, such as a pay rise, promotion, or better shift if the employee grants them sexual favors. Quid pro quo also arises when an authority figure threatens an employee. For instance, if a manager threatens to give an employee a bad performance review if they do not go out on a date with them, that is quid pro quo.

Any kind of sexual harassment is traumatic. If you or someone you know has been sexually harassed in the workplace, please contact an employment attorney. Sexual harassment might not be illegal under criminal law, but you can seek remedies for sexual harassment under state or federal civil rights laws.

Sexual Assault

Unlike sexual harassment, sexual assault is always sexual in nature and falls under criminal law. Sexual assault is any kind of intentional sexual conduct that the victim has not consented to. It can include unwelcome sexual touching, rape, and other sexual acts. According to the Department of Justice, sexual assault also includes conduct toward a victim who cannot consent, such as someone who is drunk, underage, or unconscious. Additionally, it is crucial to note that being married or in a romantic relationship with someone DOESN’T automatically mean you have given your consent.

Sexual assault cases are handled by criminal lawyers, but if you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual assault in the workplace, you can still talk to an experienced employment attorney. A skilled employment lawyer can help you make a report to the proper authorities and find a criminal defense attorney who can help.

Legal Help is Available

If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual harassment or assault in the workplace, contact the experienced and dedicated New Jersey employment lawyer at the Trabosh Law Firm.