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What are the Penalties for Sexual Harassment?

— February 7, 2022

In some cases, sexual harassment can indeed result in criminal charges.

Whether you’ve experienced sexual harassment or you’ve been accused of this act, you might be wondering about the potential penalties. Will your harasser face legitimate consequences for their actions? Could you experience considerable legal consequences if you are found guilty of sexual harassment? These are all both valid questions, and a little internet research can provide you with answers. 

However, you can receive more accurate and personalized advice from sexual harassment lawyers. There is no shortage of Colorado sexual harassment lawyers, and they can help you understand the various penalties for these acts. Not only that, but these lawyers can also lead you towards a positive resolution. 

Sexual Harassment May Not Be a Crime

In many cases, sexual harassment lawsuits are civil actions rather than criminal trials. In other words, workplace harassment may not be a criminal offense. This is often the case if harassers are using hurtful or discriminatory language. They may also avoid criminal consequences if they send you inappropriate texts. Another example of this is quid pro quo sexual harassment (1), which is when employees of inequal status begin a sexual relationship (such a boss and a secretary). 

So if sexual harassment is not prosecuted as a crime, then what are the penalties? As with all civil actions, the penalties are largely financial in nature. In other words, the defendant must provide the plaintiff with financial compensation if the harassment took place. Usually, the company itself is required to pay this settlement rather than the individual employee who committed the harassment. 

In addition to these financial consequences, companies and individuals may face other penalties. The company may be forced to create new sexual harassment policies, and they may be required to rehire employees who were fired for reporting sexual harassment. Finally, the guilty employee will likely be terminated. In addition, it is worth mentioning that companies’ reputations often suffer due to these lawsuits, resulting in further financial losses (like lowered share prices). 

Criminal Charges are Still Possible

Handcuffs and key sitting on fingerprint card; image by Bill Oxford, via
Image by Bill Oxford, via

In some cases, sexual harassment can indeed result in criminal charges. This may be the case when serious physical misconconduct took place, such as rape, groping, sexual assault, and other similar acts. Stalking and cyber-harassment (2) may also form the basis for criminal charges. In the end, penalties of harassment really depend on the unique circumstances of each case. 

Get Help From a Qualified Sexual Harassment Attorney Today

Get help from Denver sexual harassment attorneys, and you can approach this difficult situation in the most effective way possible. If you have experienced harassment, you can strive for justice and a considerable settlement for your damages. If you have been accused of this crime, your attorney can defend you and help you avoid legal consequences. Whatever the case may be, you really need to get in touch with an attorney as soon as possible. Book your consultation today. 



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