The victims of sexual harassment at work suffer more than anyone realizes — unless they too have been hurt by such unconscionable behavior. The severity of damage caused by sexual harassment certainly begs the question: Why don’t sexual harassers usually go to jail? And, is sexual harassment ever a criminal act?
Victims of sexual harassment can pursue justice and financial restitution in court against their harassers and their employers. Nevertheless, the act of sexual harassment is not a crime unless it involves physical intimidation, unwanted touching or extreme coercion. If sexual harassment doesn’t involve these types of “assault” behaviors, then it will fall under the category of civil law.
Sexual harassment becomes assault when it involves touching that results from force, incapacitation or coercion. When something like this happens, victims should immediately call the police, file a police report and request protection from further attacks.
When an instance of normal sexual harassment happens, victims should report the behavior to the appropriate individual at their workplaces. They should do so by following their workplace’s established sexual harassment reporting procedure. They should also confirm all reports of sexual harassment in writing or by email after making a verbal report to their superior.
If your workplace is fraught with instances of sexual harassment — or if you have been hurt by this behavior — you might want to contact a qualified legal counselor who has experience representing individuals harmed by this kind of mistreatment. When victims can prove that sexual harassment occurred, they may be able to receive financial compensation and other types of remedies. It’s important to understand that the standard of proof in a civil case is much lower than that used in criminal cases — so civil cases can be pressed successfully even when criminal cases cannot.