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Defenses for Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Published on February 5th, 2020

If you were accused of sexual harassment in the workplace, then you must turn to a sex crimes attorney, like a top sex crimes attorney in DC, attorney right away for help. Sexual harassment accusations are very serious, and it is ill-advised to deal with this alone without support from a legal professional who is knowledgeable in criminal defense. Add the fact that you were accused of sexual harassment behavior while at work, it can surely have an impact on your work life and how others see you. When sexual harassment does happen, the employee may face criminal charges. 

After meeting with your criminal defense attorney about the accusation, he or she may recommend using one of the following defenses: 

The Sexual Harassment Never Happened

The most obvious defense to a sexual harassment accusation is to say that is never happened at all. The plaintiff’s claims can be challenged by the defense and the court will need proof that the behavior in question actually occurred and is actionable. Teasing or more isolated incidents are probably not going to result in significant repercussions. However, if the plaintiff has evidence of repeated sexual harassment, then this defense may not be very successful, as that means you and your attorney will have to invalidate not only one, but multiple claims.

One of the strongest ways to show that the sexual harassment never occurred is through presenting an alibi. The defense can argue that the accused was in a different location at the time of the supposed crime. The alibi must be presented with credible evidence. The defense may also argue that the plaintiff has misidentified the accused, and someone else had committed the sexual harassment. 

The Conduct Involved Consent

The defense may state that the plaintiff had offered consent and that the defendant’s actions were welcomed. Unwelcome conduct is defined as an action that was undesired or offensive, that the person had not invited or solicited. If the defendant and plaintiff had romantic relations, then the defense may present evidence such as text messages, emails, and other forms of communication that show they were in a consensual relationship. To support one’s claims of sexual harassment, the plaintiff has to show that: 

  • The behavior was sexual in natural
  • They were subjected to advances that weren’t welcome

Repercussions for Sexual Harassment

In addition to being fired from your job, there are other repercussions that you may endure for being charged with sexual harassment. You may have to pay lost wages to the victim, which are wages that the person would have otherwise earned starting from the incident date until the case concluded. Sexual harassment convictions with no aggravating circumstances may be classified as a misdemeanor, where punishment of up to one or two years behind bars is possible, depending on the laws for your state.

Anyone who has been accused of sexual harassment in the workplace should take swift action to protect themselves by hiring a criminal defense attorney right away. Your attorney can assess the situation and recommend next steps to take. 

Thanks to The Lawfirm of Frederick J. Brynn, P.C. for their insight into what some of the defenses for sexual harassment in the workplace could be.

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