How to Handle Sexual Harassment, Sexual Abuse and Sexual Assault in the Workplace
How to Handle Sexual Assault in the Workplace Recent data has shown that more than 1 in 10 employees have been subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace, and many victims choose to remain silent. According to a survey from CareerBuilder, 72% of employees who experience sexual harassment on the job do not report it, and more than 50% of sexual harassment victims do not confront the perpetrator.
In effect, too often sexual misconduct in the workplace is met with silence. While victims of sexual harassment, sexual abuse and sexual assault may fear employer retaliation, understand that retaliating against an employee who brings forward a sexual assault complaint in good faith is against the law. An employer has a duty to investigate a sexual harassment complaint and protect the complainant from retaliation. If an employer retaliates, this is an additional claim the employee can file against the employer.
More importantly, any act of sexual abuse or sexual assault is a criminal offense, and perpetrators of sexual assault should be brought to justice for their criminal conduct. If you are left feeling confused and uncertain of what to do after being sexually assaulted in the workplace, know that you can receive justice. Here are a few actionable steps you can take to bring a halt to the dangerous and unlawful conduct.
Report the Assault to Law Enforcement
Since sexual abuse and sexual assault is a criminal offense, it is important to report the assault or rape to police as soon as possible. Understand that, in Arizona, sexual assault is synonymous with what is more commonly referred to as rape. According to Section 13-1406 of the Arizona Revised Statutes, sexual assault is committed when a person intentionally or knowingly "engages in sexual intercourse or oral sexual contact with any person" without the victim's consent.
In general, there is a statute of limitations in Arizona that gives the state a limited amount of time to bring charges for criminal offenses. However, the Class 2 Felony of sexual assault has no time limitation, as shown in Section 13-107(a) of the Arizona Revised Statutes.
Still, it is important to act quickly to protect your rights since earlier reporting can be helpful (and even essential) for obtaining valuable evidence that brings the perpetrator to justice. No less important, reporting the felonious misconduct quickly can make sure the behavior is put to an end, for both yourself and other potential victims.
Document the Incident
If you are left shaken after the sexual assault and cannot come forward immediately, do make note of the incident by documenting it privately. Also, it is worth considering discussing the assault with a trusted friend. Having witnesses who can speak on your behalf as well as documented evidence can benefit your legal claim when you are ready to bring charges.
Obtain Medical Assistance
Depending on the nature of the assault, it may be necessary to seek medical assistance to recover. When you are receiving medical help, know that you may also inform the medical professionals who are helping you that you wish to report the criminal offense.
Speak to an Arizona Employment Lawyer
In addition to filing criminal charges against the assailant, it is likely that you may also need to protect your legal rights as an employee. This is particularly true if the company threatens you or retaliates against you for speaking out about the criminal behavior.
An Arizona employment lawyer will help you navigate the legal complexities of standing up for your rights in a workplace that has violated those rights in any way.
For more information about your legal rights as a workplace sexual assault victim or to discuss the facts of your legal claim, contact Tyler Allen Law Firm, PLLC for a legal consultation.