Sexual harassment is a serious issue that can have profound effects on the people abused. Sexual harassment at work involves any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that affects an individual’s employment, interferes with their work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.
For example, suppose a supervisor makes inappropriate comments about an employee’s physical appearance, sends explicit messages, or makes unsolicited advances. In that case, these actions could constitute sexual harassment. Another instance could be when an employee is coerced into a sexual relationship under the threat of losing their job or missing out on promotions. These examples illustrate the different ways sexual harassment can occur in the workplace.
Sexual harassment cases can be tried either as civil or criminal cases, depending on the severity of the alleged misconduct and if the perpetrator is being charged with a crime, something that does not always happen.
- Civil sexual harassment cases: In a civil sexual harassment case, the plaintiff brings the lawsuit against the harasser or the employer. The primary aim is to seek damages for the harm suffered because of the harassment. The plaintiff must prove their case by a preponderance of the evidence, meaning it is more likely than not that the harassment occurred.
- Criminal sexual harassment cases: Conversely, the government initiates criminal cases, usually the state, against the perpetrator for violating criminal laws. In these cases, the harassment is often severe. The objective is to punish the offender and deter others from committing similar acts. The standard of proof is higher in criminal cases, requiring proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
In both civil and criminal sexual harassment cases, the possibility of you testifying in court exists. However, it is more common in criminal cases where your testimony can be critical evidence against the defendant.
While you may need to testify in civil cases, many of these cases are settled outside of court through negotiations or mediation, avoiding the need for a trial altogether. Even if the case goes to trial, your attorney may use other evidence to prove the harassment, such as emails, text messages, or witness testimonies.
It is important to remember that every case is unique, and the need for your testimony will depend on the specific circumstances of your case. Therefore, consult an experienced attorney who can guide you and advocate for your rights.
Our South Jersey Sexual Harassment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Can Protect Your Rights if You Have Been Harassed at Work
Sexual harassment is illegal and unacceptable. It is also traumatizing, and facing the offender in court can be especially difficult. For legal help, speak with our South Jersey sexual harassment lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Call us at 215-569-1999 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation. Located in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, we serve clients in South Jersey, including Cherry Hill, Haddonfield, Marlton, Moorestown, and Mount Laurel.