Denver CO Lawyers
The Difference Between Sexual Harassment and Misconduct

The Difference Between Sexual Harassment and Misconduct

DUI Court Defense

Allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct are more common today than ever before. Often, it can be hard to identify whether someone’s behavior justifies such accusations. There’s also a general lack of knowledge surrounding the difference between sexual harassment and misconduct.

If you’ve been accused of inappropriate sexual behavior, it’s important to understand your rights and when to call a lawyer. Protecting yourself starts with understanding how sexual harassment and misconduct differ and the potential consequences you face when you’re accused of either.

What Is Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment consists of unwanted sexual advances or attention. This can take the form of actions, comments, or physical gestures that are sexual in nature. Sexual harassment can occur in any context. Someone might feel they are being sexually harassed by a coworker or supervisor, professor, neighbor, or acquaintance. However, sexual harassment alone isn’t usually considered to be a sex crime.

Workplace Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is typically recognized as a legal concept only in the area of employment law. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 established that gender and sexuality are protected characteristics in the workplace. Because of that, unwanted comments or actions that are sexual in nature can provide grounds for legal action like an employment discrimination lawsuit.

Workplace sexual harassment claims often involve the following situations:

  • Hiring
  • Firing
  • Promoting
  • Assigning job responsibilities
  • Giving workplace privileges.

Firing an employee because they spurned sexual advances or promising a promotion in exchange for sexual favors are two common examples of sexual harassment in the workplace. However, sexual harassment can also include any unwanted or discriminatory treatment that is sexual in nature.

If you’ve been charged with a sex crime in Denver, you need a criminal defense lawyer fighting for your future. Call 720-445-9887 today to schedule a consultation with the Law Office of Kevin Cahill.

What Is Sexual Misconduct?

Sexual misconduct is a much broader term that has no set legal meaning. Instead, it’s a casual phrase that broadly applies to behavior that is sexual in nature and deemed by someone to be inappropriate. Sexual misconduct can range from making an unwanted sexual comment to a coworker to committing a sex crime like rape.

What Is the Difference Between Sexual Harassment and Misconduct?

Sexual misconduct refers to any type of sexual behavior that is inappropriate, unwanted, or criminal. Sexual harassment is one form of sexual misconduct. As far as inappropriate sexual behavior goes, sexual harassment is usually the form of sexual misbehavior that brings the lowest risk of criminal charges. However, workplace sexual harassment can still lead to significant legal consequences, including lawsuits and loss of employment.

Sexual misconduct can take many forms, one of which is sexual harassment. Sexual misconduct can be a crime, but it isn’t always one.

In most other cases, sexual harassment alone won’t lead to legal penalties unless it accelerates to a certain point. However, it’s important to distinguish that what counts as sexual harassment in the workplace under anti-discrimination laws is not viewed in the same light as sexual harassment that occurs outside the workplace.

Is Sexual Harassment or Sexual Misconduct a Crime?

Technically, you can’t be charged with committing either sexual harassment or sexual misconduct. However, circumstances involving both frequently end with criminal charges. It’s essential to understand the potential legal consequences you face in the event of sexual allegations.

Penalties for Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment in the workplace can be a violation of employment law. It can lead to lawsuits and other penalties, but it doesn’t typically involve criminal charges unless it involves another crime. One possible example is sexual extortion, in which an employer or coworker might threaten to release sensitive photos or materials of another employee unless they meet work-related demands. Examples of that might include doing another’s work or keeping quiet about illegal activities occurring in the workplace.

When ongoing sexual harassment occurs outside the workplace, the victim may have the option of collecting evidence and seeking a protective order. This places a legal obligation on the accused to limit or cease all contact with the individual who filed for the order. This sort of order typically involves all contact, rather than focusing specifically on sexual harassment. A protective order violation can result in criminal charges, jail time, and significant fines.

Charges Related to Sexual Misconduct

Sexual misconduct can take many forms. This means that not all behavior that might be considered an instance of sexual misconduct is a crime. However, all types of sex crimes constitute types of sexual misconduct.

There is a wide variety of sex crimes, and penalties after a conviction can range significantly. Elements that impact sentencing for a sex crime often depend on the type of crime, circumstances, victim’s age, and other factors. For example, sexual assault of a child often brings much harsher penalties than sexual assault of an adult. Some of the most common types of sex crimes include:

  • Sexual assault
  • Statutory rape
  • Unlawful sexual contact
  • Sexual assault of a child.

A conviction for nearly any sex crime can lead to jail time, fines, and lasting charges on your criminal record. Certain types of sex crimes can also bring additional consequences, like registration with the National Sex Offender Public Website.

Accused of a Sex Crime in Colorado? Call a Denver Sex Crimes Attorney Today.

Anytime you are formally accused of sexual misconduct, it’s best to protect your future by involving a lawyer. However, the type of lawyer you need varies by case. For workplace sexual harassment, you need an employment lawyer. When a protective order is filed against you, you need a family law attorney. If you’ve been charged with a sex crime, you need a criminal defense lawyer.

A conviction for a sex-related crime in Colorado can have lifelong consequences. If you’re facing criminal charges, you need an experienced sex crimes defense attorney on your side. At the Law Office of Kevin Cahill, we have a long track record of successfully helping clients fight for their rights in cases involving sex crimes and protective order violations.

Call the Law Office of Kevin Cahill today at 720-445-9887 to schedule a consultation with an experienced Denver sex crimes defense lawyer.

The Help You Need

Request your FREE consultation and get the help you need to move forward.

    1385 South Colorado Blvd. Suite A-720
    Denver, CO 80222

    Denver Criminal Defense Divider