Unwelcome Touching

Sexual Harassment – Inappropriate Touching

unwelcome-touching-workplace

If your coworkers or supervisors have touched you inappropriately, you may be a victim of sexual harassment.

Inappropriate touching in the workplace makes the workplace uncomfortable, distracting, and frightening.

Your colleagues never possess the right to touch you without your consent. Inappropriate touching at work takes many forms, including groping, kissing, and hugging. All are wrong.

This inappropriate behavior has no place at work. You have the right to feel safe and comfortable at your place of employment.

Examples of Unwanted Touching in the Workplace

Inappropriate touching in the workplace includes a wide range of physical acts constituting sexual harassment. A list of examples of inappropriate touching in the workplace includes the following:

  • Groping, 
  • Patting or petting,
  • Massaging,
  • Blocking a person’s movements,
  • Fondling, 
  • Coerced sexual conduct, 
  • Grinding,
  • Stroking,
  • Rubbing, 
  • Kissing,
  • Physical assault, and
  • Attempted rape or rape. 

Though this is not an all-inclusive list, any form of unwanted touching in the workplace, whether it occurs once or multiple times, is illegal. Don’t allow anyone to diminish the traumatizing event you endured.

Some forms of unwanted touching in the workplace may not be as blatant as the above examples. Some forms of inappropriate touching in the workplace may occur under the guise of an accident or friendly interaction. These forms of unwanted touching at work may appear as the following:

  • Brushing up or rubbing up against your buttocks or breasts, or any part of your body;
  • Trying to kiss you without permission;
  • Hugging you without asking; and
  • Caressing any part of your body sexually.

Report any forms of unwanted touching at work to your superior. If your company provides anti-harassment policies, familiarize yourself with these policies to determine how to report unwanted touching at the workplace to the appropriate parties. 

My Rights Against Inappropriate Touching in the Workplace

The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“LAD”) prohibits acts of sexual harassment, including sexual touching. Sexual harassment includes a wide array of unlawful conduct.

The LAD dictates that it is unlawful to harass a person because of a person’s sex. Generally, the law provides for two types of sexual harassment claims.

Quid Pro Quo Harassment

Quid pro quo harassment represents situations where employment decisions such as promotions, assignments, or even maintaining employment depend on your willingness to submit to sexual advances.

Quid pro quo harassment may take the form of an implicit request or an explicit request. Implicit requests are hinted or not directly stated.

For example, through sexual pressure, a supervisor conditions job benefits upon acceptance of the sexual demand, however fails to expressly state that you may suffer termination upon refusing the demand.

Explicit quid pro quo harassment represents an express request to carry out a sexual demand. Failure to accept means demotion or termination of your position. 

Hostile Work Environment

A hostile work environment claim involves situations where the sexual harassment endured causes a hostile work environment. Unwanted touching in the workplace qualifies as a hostile work environment when it is pervasive and severe such that it: 

  1. Interferes with your ability to do your work; 
  2. Is threatening or humiliating; or 
  3. Creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment. 

Anyone can be your harasser. A person subjecting you to unwanted touching at work could be a coworker, a superior, your boss or manager, and anyone who is not an employee but a customer or client of the company.  

Your Options

If your employer is aware that sexual harassment has occurred, they can be held liable for the harassment you endured. If someone touched you without your consent, you may also be the victim of assault. 

If you believe you have been the victim of sexual harassment or assault, you do not need to suffer in silence. An experienced attorney can help you decide what to do, whether it’s filing a complaint with your company or filing a lawsuit against your employer.

What Are My Remedies for Inappropriate Touching in the Workplace 

Various remedies exist for sexual harassment victims when you pursue a claim based on experiences of unwanted touching in the workplace. Remedies include:

  • Back pay and Front pay if you are fired
  • Reimbursement of medical expenses, 
  • Reimbursement of benefit premiums, 
  • Reimbursement of other related expenses, 
  • Attorney fees, 
  • Pain and suffering, and 
  • Emotional distress. 

In certain circumstances, punitive damages may also be available. Punitive damages seek to punish the defendant.

In situations where the defendant’s conduct represented particularly egregious behavior, awarding punitive damages attempts to deter others’ future conduct.

Punitive damages in sexual harassment lawsuits may be calculated through information regarding the company’s gross profits, the nature of the action, and whether it is a first offense. 

Additionally, in certain situations, you may file a separate claim for retaliation if you complained about sexual harassment and your employer punished you for speaking out. Federal and state laws protect individuals who blow the whistle on unlawful conduct, including unwanted touching at work.  

Contact O’Connor, Parsons, Lane & Noble Today

Our experienced attorneys will work with you to determine the best approach for your specific situation, including possible compensation.

We understand the indignity you have endured as a victim of sexual harassment. We are prepared to represent you with experience, knowledge, and compassion.

Our attorneys work to investigate your situation and harassment claims thoroughly. Our history of success and the professionalism through which we acquire these successful results lead us to be a highly respected firm by our clients and peers.

We know these matters are sensitive, but no one deserves to suffer in silence. Many types of harassment claims are subject to time limits, so it is essential to contact an attorney early to ensure that you receive the support you deserve. 

Contact the attorneys of O’Connor, Parsons, Lane & Noble today to discuss potential compensation. Contact us online or call at 908-928-9200 or 1-800-586-5817.

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