Sexual harassment is universally looked at as something that is morally wrong. However, the question arises as to when sexual harassment goes from simply being wrong to becoming a crime which is punishable by law. In Houston, Texas, light cases of sexual harassment are considered to be a civil matter and they are dealt with through the civil court system.

However, if the case is more severe and involved sexual assault then criminal charges can easily be pressed against the offender.

In Texas, sexual harassment can be charged under the following:

  • Harassment
  • Assault
  • Sexual assault

Amongst the biggest disadvantages of getting charged with any form of sexual misconduct is the scarring a person gets to their reputation. Apart from having one’s reputation tarnished a person will also have to pay heavy fines and endure possible jail time depending on how severe the case actually was.

Who should I report sexual harassment to in Texas?

Since sexual misconduct does not generally lead to criminal charges, a person should file a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the civil rights division of the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC).

When a person is filing their complaint, it is in their best interest to call a sexual harassment lawyer in Houston, Texas to help them through the paperwork. A lawyer can ensure all the legalities are taken care of and that a person is not missing out on important details when they are filing their complaint.

If a person was sexually assaulted and they faced injuries due to the encounter they can easily pursue litigation and press criminal charges against the individual who attacked them. Once again, an attorney can be invaluable at a time like this by helping a person gather evidence and prepare witnesses and statements for the actual court trial.

What are the penalties of sexual harassment?

Depending on how severe the act of harassment was, a person will have to face varying charges. For instance, if a person constantly messages and tries to get in touch with a person and constantly makes explicit sexual advances they can be charged with up to $2000 in fines and also six months of incarceration.

However, if a person committed a more serious case of sexual assault in which they actually penetrated the other person without their permission they can face up to 20 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.

Not only will a person have to undergo jail time and pay fines, but they will also be registered as a sex offender, lose the privilege of owning firearms, suffer an extreme amount of damage to their reputation, and also find it very difficult to find a job which requires any form of a background check.

Anyone who is being charged with sexual assault should call a legal professional to represent them and help them fight their case so they are not forced to live with the penalties for the rest of their lives.