Criminal Sexual Conduct in the Workplace


Is sexual harassment in the workplace a crime?

Sexual harassment attorneys empowering victims to fight back

Employees don’t expect to be sexually harassed on the job. You expect to be treated as a professional — you deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. But when you are sexually harassed workplace, the emotional and professional effects are devastating.

Workplace sexual harassment is generally treated as a civil case with monetary damages awarded for the wrongdoings of the offending party or the company. Certain harassing behaviors cross the line, even more, entering the territory of criminal misconduct. When lewd comments and inappropriate remarks turn to sexual abuse, forcible touching, and rape, it’s time to fight back with the help of an understanding sexual harassment attorney.
Complete a Free Case Evaluation form or call (800) 807-2209 today.

Criminal Sexual Behavior

Victims of employment sexual harassment are typically entitled to file a lawsuit in court and/or bring about a charge to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). But victims of illegal workplace sexual misconduct may be able to pursue criminal as well as civil charges against the perpetrator. So, your employer may face criminal fines, jail time, community service, probation or other penalties in addition to awarding you monetary compensation for your trauma. However, workplace sexual harassment does not necessarily have to be criminal in nature to file a lawsuit.

Sexual offenses could be classified as misdemeanors or felonies depending on the severity of the charge. If you were subject to sexual contact without consent, it is probably a criminal act. Even if you are unsure, speak with a compassionate sexual harassment attorney who can help you make sense of the situation. It’s never easy standing up for yourself, but with the right advocate in your corner, you can seek justice.

Can a person go to jail for harassment?

Classifications of criminal sexual offenses

While most cases of sexual harassment are civil, laws recognize several types of non-consensual sexual behavior and classify them by varying degrees of the law which can be criminal in nature. The basic breakdown includes:

  • Criminal sexual act — engaging in oral or anal sex without the person’s consent. If found guilty, offenders could be incarcerated for up to 25 years for the most severe violations.
  • Sexual abuse — sexual contact by forcible compulsion in which offenders may serve anywhere from three months or seven years in prison if convicted.
  • Assault and battery — grabbing,  squeezing or pinching the victim’s sexual or other intimate parts for the purpose of degrading, abusing or gratifying his own desire. If found guilty, the perpetrator could spend up to a year incarcerated.
  • Pornography — Pornography in the work environment may not be a criminal offense. However: If the pornography includes child pornography, the harasser (and even the employer) may be guilty of violating child pornography criminal laws.
  • Rape — non-consensual sexual intercourse by forcible compulsion or the victim is incapable of consent. Perpetrators could face up to 25 years in prison for the most serious offenses.
  • False imprisonment — imprisoning a person without their consent or the legal authority to do so.
  • Stalking — At the highest level, stalking in the first degree — a Class D Felony — the stalker has “intentionally or recklessly” caused physical injury.
These categories are generally broken down into First, Second and Third degree violations of the law depending upon the frequency and severity of the offense committed. You may be considered unable to consent if you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or the victim has a disability preventing them from offering consent. Specific illegal acts could include rape, groping, forced kissing, penetration with a foreign object or inappropriate touching of your body or clothing.
Complete a Free Case Evaluation form or call (800) 807-2209 today.

Stand up to sexual harassment | Call Us For a Free Consultation

If you endured illegal sexual harassment in the workplace, you are bound to feel frustrated, confused and ashamed. Just know that you are not alone. The New York City, New Jersey, Philadelphia and Miami sexual harassment attorneys at the law firm of Derek Smith Law Group are here to help. We are on your side. Contact us today for a free consultation.


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With over 25 years of experience, we have represented thousands of employment discrimination victims. We have recovered millions for our clients, including the largest emotional distress jury verdict in an employment law case ever to be sustained on appeal!

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