Can Sexual Harassment Be a Crime?

metoo-2859980_1280-300x200With the #MeToo movement more important than ever, there may be individuals curious as to whether sexual harassment itself is a crime. Is it possible to receive jail time for sexual harassment?

To get a better understanding of this, it’s worth defining what constitutes sexual harassment. Will giving a person of the opposite sex be considered sexual harassment? How about hugging a coworker?

At its essence, sexual harassment is behavior that is “unwanted”. This may include comments or touching a person. Though sexual harassment is often seen as something men do to women, a harasser can be male or female and they may harass another person regardless of their gender. Although it can happen anywhere, legal recourse for sexual harassment when out on the street may be limited.

Sexual harassment tends to be a civil matter unless it goes beyond sexual harassment. Sexual harassment claims often occur in a workplace, though harassment can happen outside of work, such as at a school, for example.

Most workplaces have policies and protocols in place to deal with sexual harassment claims. Employees are expected to follow these should they need to report an issue. However, victims may feel that these investigations are insufficient to change the workplace culture. They may decide to seek the civil justice system to implement change or make a claim of distress and suffering. This may lead to suing an alleged sexual harasser or the employer but it is not part of the criminal justice system and criminal charges are not necessarily involved. Only when sexual harassment becomes something more does it become a potential crime.

This update is published by The Law Offices of Mark Eiglarsh, a Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyer. Areas of practice include criminal defense, white collar crimes, drug crimes, fraud, DUI, sex crimes, domestic violence, and more. With over two decades of experience, Mark is committed to obtaining the best possible outcome for his valued clients under difficult circumstances. For more information or to schedule a consultation, please call 954-500-0003 in Broward or 305-674-0003 in Miami.

This information is provided for educational or informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to substitute for legal advice.

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