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When is Touching Inappropriate at an Illinois Workplace?

— September 12, 2022

It is also worth mentioning that you could technically consent to inappropriate touching and still be a victim of sexual harassment.

When does physical touching become inappropriate? Where do we draw the line between an “innocent” pat on the shoulder and something that is clearly unwanted? In the end, it often comes down to each person’s personal preferences. Some people feel comfortable with being touched, while others prefer to maintain their personal space. Whatever the case may be, it’s important to understand the legal definition of inappropriate touching. When you know what to look for, it becomes easier to identify acts of clear misconduct. 

Of course, you should always consult with a qualified, experienced employment law attorney in Illinois if you believe that you have been touched inappropriately at your workplace. An attorney can be especially helpful if you have experienced serious instances of misconduct, such as sexual harassment or discrimination. With help from an attorney, you can strive for the best possible outcome by suing your employer and recovering a settlement for everything you’ve been through. 

Touching is Inappropriate Whenever it is Unwanted

If you’re wondering whether you have experienced inappropriate touching at work, ask yourself this simple question: “Did you want this touching to happen?’ If the answer is no, then you have experienced inappropriate touching. Whenever you don’t want to be touched, your employer has no right to touch you. 

Of course, this alone may not be enough to lead to a lawsuit, especially if the touching was relatively innocent in nature. For example, perhaps your employer has a tendency to squeeze your shoulder. If you do not want to be touched in this manner, you need to clearly tell your employer. Once your employer becomes aware that you do not consent to this, they are legally obligated to stop. If they continue to touch you despite your protests, then you can file a lawsuit against them. 

Obvious Examples of Inappropriate Touching

There are many other more obvious examples of inappropriate touching, including:

  • Groping
  • Unsolicited massages
  • Holding hands
  • Unwanted sexual contact
  • Physical assaults
  • Placing hands on legs or shoulders during conversations

Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment

Angry woman at laptop; image by Elisa Ventur, via

It is also worth mentioning that you could technically consent to inappropriate touching and still be a victim of sexual harassment. Under “Quid Pro Quo” sexual harassment, subservient employees may be victimized by those who have power over their jobs. In this situation, you might consent to inappropriate touching because you fear losing your job if you protest. 

Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney 

If you’ve been searching the Chicago area for a qualified, experienced employment law attorney, there are many legal professionals who can assist you. With their help, you can strive for the best possible outcome in the most efficient way possible. No one deserves to be touched inappropriately at their workplace, and you have every right to take legal action if you have been harassed in this way. Book a consultation with a legal expert today, and you can go over all of your options. 

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