If a coworker, manager, employer, or client touches or grabs your person, you’ve been the victim of one of the most conspicuous forms of workplace sexual harassment. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protects employees from unwanted physical contact from others in the workplace. “Unwelcome” is the keyword – even if the sexual act became consensual, if you didn’t welcome the advance, there may have been sexual harassment. When in doubt, call our Oakland sexual harassment attorneys at Winer, Burritt and Scott, LLP. We can help clarify sexual harassment for you and assist you in investigating the potential merit of your claim.
Examples of Unwanted Touching in the Workplace
Physical harassment is one of the most obvious types of sexual harassment in the workplace. It’s often easier to prove than non-physical forms, especially if you have evidence or eyewitnesses to document the situation. Virtually any type of intentional physical contact that you didn’t want or welcome may constitute sexual harassment. If someone else in your workplace committed any of the following unwelcome acts against you, you most likely have a sexual harassment case:
- Grabbing of body parts
- Intentionally rubbing up against you
- Kissing or hugging you without permission (even the attempt may constitute harassment)
- Touching, slapping, or pinching body parts
- Sexual touching
- Sexual intercourse
- Coercing you into sexually touching the other person
- Using force, threats, coercion, or violence to engage in sexual touching
- Any type of unwelcome touching that made you feel uncomfortable or at risk
Do You Have a Sexual Harassment Claim?
The crux of a workplace sexual harassment claim is whether the victim welcomed the sexual advance. An established relationship with someone at your job doesn’t mean consent. Silence or lack of protest doesn’t mean consent. Unwanted touching through force, threats, coercion, or intimidation isn’t consent. In a circumstance where you did not give your consent to another person’s physically touching or grabbing of you, you may have a sexual harassment or assault claim.
Unwelcome sexual touching can be harassment after just one instance. You don’t need to establish a history of repeated unwanted touching to have a case against the alleged perpetrator. In this way, unwanted touching differs from other forms of sexual harassment in the workplace. Harassment that doesn’t involve direct contact, such as offensive jokes or comments, typically requires that the action is repetitive or severe enough to create a hostile work environment. Unwelcome touching or grabbing of body parts just once can be enough to constitute sexual harassment if the victim feels violated.
You can bring a sexual harassment claim against someone for unwanted touching whether you’re a man or a woman. Same-sex unwanted touching can also constitute sexual harassment. The perpetrator can be a fellow staff member, a manager, or the owner of a company. If the unwanted touching led to retaliation against you for reporting the incident, or to try and get rid of you before you report the act, you may have grounds to file a claim against the person and/or company. Title VII protects you from retaliation such as loss of job, demotion, and pay reduction. Any time someone in the workplace does something to create a hostile work environment, victims have rights.
Contact an Experienced Unwanted Touching Harassment Attorney at Winer, Burritt and Scott, LLP Today
If you’re not sure whether your situation gives you grounds to file a claim, speak to our lawyers. Our sexual harassment attorneys in California have represented clients in many unwelcome touching scenarios and can help you file a claim with the right entities.
Regardless of who the individual was, what position he/she held within the company, or if you partially consented to the touching, contact us. Workplace sexual harassment cases can be complex and involve a variety of state and federal laws. You may need our help to pursue a claim.
**We do not represent perpetrators of sexual harassment or those who are accused of sexually harassing behavior.