Protect Your Rights When Facing a Charge of Sexual Harassment

If you are facing a charge of sexual harassment, it is important that you have an attorney on your side. A conviction for sexual harassment can have long-term effects on your reputation and job prospects. Potential employers may not consider you for certain service jobs. The social stigma associated with such a charge will last for many years. A criminal defense attorney at Rosenthal Kalabus & Therrian can help you protect yourself and your career.


When accused of sexual harassment, it is crucial to retain an experienced defense attorney to ensure that your rights are protected. Although the burden of proof lies with the alleged victim, an innocent comment may be misconstrued as harassment. Additionally, the #MeToo movement has led to many women coming forward with claims of sexual assault and harassment. A sex crime defense attorney can protect you from the serious consequences of a sexual harassment charge.

While a sexual harassment charge can result in jail time or even a criminal conviction, the penalties vary greatly, depending on whether it is a misdemeanor or felony. Depending on the nature of the alleged misconduct, the penalties can be severe, but they can also have a lasting effect. For example, a defendant may have to register as a sex offender, which can severely limit their freedom and ability to work and live.


Penalties for sexual harassment depend on the circumstances of the offense. For instance, if words are exchanged during an argument, it may be difficult to charge the person. However, serious physical misconduct such as rape or groping could lead to a criminal charge. Cyber-harassment can also result in criminal charges, and penalties for such offenses vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In some cases, it may be possible to file a charge even if the victim was only harassing her at work.

Once convicted, a perpetrator can face civil penalties of $250,000 for willful violations. In addition to financial penalties, the Commission can assess damages for emotional distress and other remedies for the victim. In some cases, the Commission may order the Violator to participate in training or community service. While the victims of such crimes may be embarrassed to report sexual harassment to authorities, bystanders must recognize instances and report them as soon as possible.


A worker who makes a complaint of sexual harassment is protected by federal, state, and local laws. These protections, built into Title VII, remain in place even if the EEOC or a court finds that the employee was not harassed. These protections apply to current employers, too. This does not excuse a former employee from legitimate rules of the job. Here’s what you need to know about the legal protections.

First, employers cannot make any unjustified discriminatory retaliation. It must be intentional, and cannot be based on an employer’s reason for doing so. Such actions include firing, demoting, harassing, and other adverse actions. The actions must be so severe that they prevent a reasonable person from exercising his or her rights. It can be as subtle as passing an employee over for promotion. In California, the law uses the “materiality” test, which takes into account the circumstances of the employee. In federal courts, it uses the “deterrence” test.

Victim’s obligation to inform harasser

The law protects victims of sexual harassment. The act must involve a person’s behavior that is unwelcome and directed towards them based on their gender. In some cases, consent is not a defense for sexual harassment, however, and the victim may be too afraid to report it, avoiding potential legal repercussions. Depending on the circumstances, the victim may need to inform the harasser of her or his sexual harassment to establish that the behavior was unlawful.

During the investigation, the employee or supervisor should contact the alleged harasser. The employee should be informed about the company’s harassment policy, and that retaliation is not acceptable. A letter should clearly state the nature of the harassment, and describe where and when it happened. If the harassment continues, the victim should contact the appropriate authorities and report the incident to the proper authorities.

Significance of a single incident

There is a balancing act that must be struck to determine whether an incident is harassment. In other words, a single incident that occurs repeatedly or over an extended period of time is enough to qualify for a charge. The question is whether the conduct was sexually inappropriate and demeaning. Whether it was sexually offensive, or both, is important in determining if the conduct constituted harassment.

The timeliness of filing a sexual harassment charge depends on whether the conduct involved was discrete or continuous. If it was a one-off incident, the prospective client must file the charge within 180 or 300 days from the date of the discrete act. However, if the conduct occurred repeatedly over a period of time, the prospective client must wait at least 300 days to file a charge.

Legal defenses

There are several legal defenses to sexual harassment charges. Although an employer may be held liable, the offender must first prove that he or she had no intention of harassing or causing discomfort to another person in the workplace. For example, if an employee was accused of playing offensive music in their vehicle, it is possible that they were not intentionally harassing others but were acting in an unintended manner. This can be an effective defense if the alleged offender did not intend to do so.

The court may use the affirmative defense if it is reasonable to believe that an employer took steps to prevent or correct the offense. While an employee’s conduct was a violation of her rights, the company must act reasonably and implement effective corrective measures. A company can establish this affirmative defense by creating a compliant workplace that prevents sexual harassment. This is known as the “Faragher/Ellerth” affirmative defense.