Unlike sexual harassment, sexual assault is considered a criminal offense. It is important for individuals to understand the difference between the two if they are being subjected to any type of unwanted sexual misconduct in the workplace or at school.
What is sexual harassment?
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) defines sexual harassment as “unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.” Sexual harassment is a violation of the law when it creates an offensive or hostile work environment, impacts an individual’s employment, or “results in an adverse employment decision.” If an individual engages in unlawful behavior such as sexual harassment, civil action can be taken against them.
For example, if an employer in North Dakota were to fire an employee who constantly ignored their sexual advances, they could be sued for damages. Damages serve as a form of financial relief and may be provided to a victim of sexual harassment for things like mental anguish, pain and suffering, lost income, etc. Although an employer who sexually harasses an employee may not go to jail unless the behavior becomes a form of assault or involves a minor, they could lose their job and be forced by the courts to compensate the victim for subjecting them to inappropriate behavior.
What is sexual assault?
An individual who “knowingly has sexual contact with another person, or who causes another person to have sexual contact with that person,” is guilty of sexual assault when:
- The individual has reason to believe the contact they are making is offensive to the other person.
- The individual is aware or has reason to believe the other person suffers from a mental disease that hinders their ability to understand the conduct or consent to it.
- The individual caused the other person without their knowledge to become impaired by administering a controlled substance or another type of intoxicant.
- The victim is a minor or fifteen years of age or older, and the perpetrator is an adult.
Depending on the act that was committed, a person who is guilty of sexual assault may either be charged with a Class C felony or a Class A misdemeanor.
If an individual believes they are being sexually harassed at work or school, they are going to want to address the behavior so that it can stop, and proper action can be taken. The same applies to sexual assault. If an individual is fearful of reporting their employer for sexual harassment or would like to learn more about their legal rights before taking any sort of action, they can contact a North Dakota sexual harassment attorney.
To find a sexual harassment lawyer in North Dakota, simply contact USAttorneys.com for help. USAttorneys.com will use their database of reputable lawyers to find the right type of legal expert who can help a victim, whether they live in Fargo, Bismarck, Grand Forks, or anywhere else.