Workplace sexual assault is common. In fact, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, 58 percent of women experience sexual harassment or assault in the workplace.
Over the last several years, the #MeToo movement has exposed the frequency of sexual harassment and assault at work. More than half of all women experience some form of workplace sexual harassment or assault in their lifetime. Sadly, women of color and LGBTQ women and men experience higher rates of sexual harassment and assault.
What Is Sexual Assault in the Workplace?
People commonly conflate sexual assault and sexual harassment. The two are not the same. In fact, there are some key distinctions between them both.
Defining Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment involves unwelcome sexual comments, advances or requests for sexual favors. Examples of sexual harassment include sending sexual texts, making crude remarks or demanding sexual favors in exchange for work-related benefits and opportunities.
Defining Sexual Assault
Sexual assault, however, is different. The Department of Justice defines sexual assault as “any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient.” This includes rape, fondling or inappropriate touching.
Steps to Take After Being Sexually Assaulted in the Workplace
If you believe that you have been sexually assaulted in the workplace, then there are steps you can take to protect yourself and seek justice.
- Seek medical attention. Survivors of sexual assault need medical attention. Medical professionals can treat sexually transmitted diseases, lacerations, internal bleeding and other physical traumas. In addition, healthcare professionals can provide you with a rape kit. A rape kit is a sexual assault forensic exam used to collect valuable evidence such as DNA and blood samples. Medical professionals can also help you with the psychological and emotional trauma that often is associated with sexual assault.
- Contact the police. Sexual assault is a crime no matter where it occurs. Survivors of workplace sexual assault should report the incident to the local authorities immediately.
- Notify employers. If the sexual assault occurs at work, then it is important to notify managers or human resources of the incident. Filing an incident report at work can protect you and others at work from suffering further harm.
- Reach out for support. Once you are physically safe, surround yourself with supportive friends and family members. Sexual assault survivors often experience a wide range of emotions following an assault. This includes depression, anxiety and dissociation. Sexual assault survivors need support now more than ever.
- Seek mental help. To combat depression, anxiety and PTSD, survivors of sexual assault should seek guidance from a mental health provider. A psychologist, psychiatrist or counselor can help you better process the trauma.
- Consult with an attorney. After experiencing workplace sexual assault, it is important to know your legal rights and consider all your options. An experienced sexual harassment attorney can help you choose the legal path that is best for you and your family.
Call Our Los Angeles Sexual Harassment Lawyers to Learn More
Everyone deserves to work in an environment free from discrimination and harassment. Unfortunately, sexual harassment occurs on a regular basis in workplaces across Los Angeles.
You can schedule a consultation with one of the Los Angeles sexual harassment lawyers at Yadegar, Minoofar & Soleymani LLP if you believe you have been a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace. We have the experience and resources needed to tackle these complex cases. We offer compassionate and aggressive legal representation every step of the way. Call us at (310) 499-0140 or use our online contact form to schedule a consultation.