What to Do After a Sexual Assault in the Workplace

Many people experience sexual harassment in different forms at work. However, sometimes, harassing behavior escalates to sexual assault. Such assaults might happen at work, at work-related events, on business trips, and more. Those who engage in assault might include bosses, coworkers, clients, or others involved in your business in different ways.

No matter how it happens, sexual assault is criminal conduct, and you should not wait to take action to protect yourself and your rights. The following is some information for victims of workplace sexual assault. To discuss your specific situation, reach out to a workplace sexual harassment attorney immediately.

Identifying Sexual Assault

Too many people overlook acts of sexual assault, as they do not realize they were the victims of a crime. Under California law, sexual battery involves:

  • Touching an intimate part of another person
  • For sexual gratification or arousal
  • When the touching is against the will of the person being touched

Sexual assault cases can become more serious, as well, and might involve restraining the victim or threatening violence against the victim. However, any incidence of sexual assault - even if it did not involve violence - is a very serious matter.

Act Quickly

Sexual assault is a traumatizing event, no matter what the nature of the unwanted touching might be. Consider the following steps you might take following an assault at work:

Seek medical attention if needed - Depending on the circumstances of the assault, you might need medical attention. If the assault involved forcible intercourse or contact with the assailant’s genitals, you should always get medical attention. Healthcare professionals can treat injuries, possible STDs, and other traumas. They can also take samples for a rape kit to preserve evidence and connect you with supportive resources.

Tell the authorities - Even if the sexual assault seems minor and happened at work, it is still a crime. You should report what happened to your local police department and fill out a police report.

Tell your employer - It is important for your employer to know that someone in the workplace is committing sexual assault. Human resources should launch an investigation and take action to remove that individual. If you do not feel safe reporting the incident to your employer - such as if your assailant was the company owner - contact an attorney immediately instead.

Consult with a workplace sexual harassment attorney - You should learn about your legal rights and options from a lawyer who handles employment cases involving sexual misconduct. The right attorney can determine the best course of action to protect your rights and hold your employer accountable for the unlawful conduct you experienced.

Take care of yourself - Every sexual assault can be a traumatic experience. You should ensure you are reaching out for help from your support network or mental health professionals if needed.

We hope you never experience sexual assault at work - or anyplace at all. However, if you do, it is important to get all the help you need from healthcare, law enforcement, and legal professionals.