Workplace Sexual Assault Lawyer
Sexual assault in the workplace is a crime with lasting physical, mental, and emotional implications for victims. If you were a victim of sexual assault in the workplace, you might consider hiring a workplace sexual assault lawyer. Contact Helping Survivors today to receive confidential support in connecting with an attorney who will help you win your case.
Experiencing sexual assault in the workplace is a traumatic event with lasting consequences for the victim. Sexual assault in the workplace is both a crime and a violation of employment law. Using your employer’s rules, state laws, and federal statutes, you may begin pursuing justice for what you experienced.
If you are ready to seek justice, you need to first understand the legal processes involved. While you are not required to have an attorney to file grievances or a lawsuit, a workplace sexual assault lawyer can guide you through your next steps.
Helping Survivors is dedicated to providing victims of sexual assault with the resources they need to seek justice and recover. We can help you begin the process of holding your abuser accountable.
What is considered sexual assault in the workplace?
Sexual assault is a crime defined on a state-by-state basis but generally includes the following:
- Rape or any unwanted penetration of a person’s body through force or coercion, or while an individual is unable to consent
- Attempted rape
- Unwanted fondling or sexual touching
- Forced or coerced sexual acts, such as oral sex
With workplace sexual assault, the crime does not have to occur on the property of your employer. If a colleague commits sexual assault outside of work, it still affects the workplace.
Moreover, the perpetrator of the sexual assault does not have to be an employer. Contractors, clients, or vendors of your employer can also commit sexual assault in the workplace.
Under federal law — Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 — a single incident of sexual assault can be considered discrimination on the basis of sex. Title VII prohibits discrimination based on sex in workplaces when the discrimination creates a hostile work environment or if there is a quid pro quo arrangement. Harassment is considered quid pro quo if it is the result of a manager conditioning a promotion or other work benefit on submission to a sexual favor.
When should you hire a workplace sexual assault lawyer?
Whether you want to understand your reporting options or compare potential remedies for the effects on your job, hiring a workplace sexual assault lawyer is a helpful first step. Although sexual assault attorneys are not required, an attorney can guide you through the available options for reporting sexual assault and provide assistance with navigating each procedure.
There are three common types of legal processes you may pursue.
Because sexual assault is a crime, one of your options is to report the crime to the police, who will investigate the matter. Depending on the police’s findings, a prosecutor may have enough evidence to convict your abuser of the crime and hold them accountable for their actions.
Hiring a sexual assault lawyer gives you someone to consult throughout the proceeding who solely represents you and seeks to protect your rights.
Many employers and states have specific rules about reporting a claim of sexual assault in the workplace. You can also submit a complaint to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). A workplace sexual assault attorney can guide you in choosing where and how to file a claim and submit the claim with deadlines in mind.
Another avenue you can pursue with a sexual assault lawyer is to file a civil lawsuit against the person who assaulted you. In some cases, filing a lawsuit against your workplace is also an option.
Before filing a lawsuit regarding sex discrimination and sexual harassment, follow the rules for obtaining permission to file the lawsuit from the EEOC or your state’s agency. Your lawyer will investigate whether this rule applies to you and your situation. Additionally, they will provide information on who to name as a defendant in the civil lawsuit.
Can an employer retaliate against an employee for filing a sexual assault claim?
Your employer cannot retaliate against you if you report your sexual assault through the employer’s, state’s, or federal government’s reporting mechanisms. Specifically, Title VII prohibits retaliation against employees who report or participate in the investigation of a complaint. Retaliation can be termination, reassignment of work or positions, or failure to hire.
Individual states may also prohibit retaliation. For example, in California, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act prohibits employers from retaliating against any employees who file a grievance under the Act, testify, or otherwise participate in a proceeding.
What evidence is needed to support a workplace sexual assault claim?
The amount of evidence required to prove the assault occurred and establish the responsibility of the defendant will vary based on how you pursue your sexual assault claim.
If you file a complaint with your employer or the state or federal government, the employer or governmental agency will collect evidence and decide whether the assault occurred. The employer or agency may then facilitate a settlement to resolve your complaint.
In a civil lawsuit, your workplace sexual assault lawyer will be responsible for collecting and providing evidence that proves the sexual assault occurred beyond a preponderance of the evidence — meaning it was more likely than not that the assault occurred.
Evidence that may be used in any of the proceedings includes the following:
- DNA evidence, such as evidence collected during a rape examination
- Medical information concerning injuries and care needed going forward
- Pictures and videos of the assault, your injuries, and the location where the assault occurred
- Testimony from any witnesses to the sexual assault or events leading up to or following the assault
- Documentation, including text messages, phone records, and emails, regarding the interactions between the victim and the person who assaulted the victim
- Documentation of complaints submitted to your employer, the state agency, or the EEOC
How much compensation can you receive from a workplace sexual assault case?
The compensation you may receive will vary according to your state’s laws and the circumstances of your sexual assault. If you proceed with your grievance through the employer or government complaint processes, the goal will be to return you to your position before the assault. Your compensation may include the following:
- Reimbursement of lost wages
- Payment for a lost promotion
- Reinstatement of a lost position
- Promotion or hiring for a position
Depending on your situation, you may also recover the following:
- Economic damages, such as the cost of current and future medical bills and future lost wages
- Noneconomic damages, such as damages for emotional distress, pain, and suffering
- Punitive damages, a financial award designed to punish the defendants of your lawsuit for reckless conduct
- Attorney fees, court costs, and fees paid for expert witnesses
Hire a Workplace Sexual Assault Lawyer To File a Case
If you want to understand your next steps after being a victim of sexual assault, hire a workplace sexual assault lawyer. Because the rules and laws vary by country and state, contacting an attorney in your local jurisdiction is best for assistance.
When considering which workplace sexual assault attorney to hire, ensure that you review the lawyer’s experience with employment discrimination and sexual assault cases. Also, consider the attorney’s trial experience, as this may determine whether or not you win your case.
Helping Survivors is a confidential service that can provide resources and connect you with a local attorney. Contact us to get help finding an experienced and trustworthy workplace sexual assault lawyer.