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Sexual Assault and Harassment FAQ

lagomarsinolaw > Sexual Assault and Harassment FAQ

The attorneys at Lagomarsino Law

Sexually abusive behavior may be divided into subcategories: (a.) sexual assault and (b.) sexual harassment. Both forms of sexual abuse are serious legal matters. Often, the parties at fault in these situations are not only the people being sexually abusive, but also any superior who allows such behavior to occur.


Sexual assault involves forcibly causing another person to engage in an unwanted sexual act. Force used may be physical or verbal and involves knowledge on the part of the offending party that the act is unwanted. Sexual harassment, while painful, is more difficult to categorize than sexual assault.


According to the Nevada Equal Rights Commission (NERC) sexual harassment is defined as follows:
“Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitutes sexual harassment when submission to or rejection of this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.”


Both sexual harassment and sexual abuse may result in civil liability on the part of offenders, as well as those in a position of authority who allow sexual abuse to persist.

The Nevada Equal Rights Commission (NERC) offers the following information on sexual harassment, stating that it can occur in a variety of circumstances, including but not limited to the following:

The victim as well as the harasser may be a woman or a man. The victim does not have to be of the opposite sex.

The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, an agent of the employer, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or a non-employee.

The victim does not have to be the person harassed but could be anyone affected by the offensive conduct.

Unlawful sexual harassment may occur without economic injury to or discharge of the victim.

The harasser’s conduct must be unwelcome.

Any victim of sexual harassment should use any employer complaint mechanism or grievance system available. When investigating allegations of sexual harassment, EEOC looks at the whole record: the circumstances, such as the nature of the sexual advances, and the context in which the alleged incidents occurred. A determination on the allegations is made from the facts on a case-by-case basis. Prevention is the best tool to eliminate sexual harassment in the workplace. Employers are encouraged to take steps necessary to prevent sexual harassment from occurring. They should clearly communicate to employees that sexual harassment will not be tolerated. They can do so by establishing an effective complaint or grievance process and taking immediate and appropriate action when an employee complains.

What is sexual harassment on the job?

Sexual harassment on the job can range from blatant physical and verbal aggression to gentle patting and subtle coercion by persons seeking sexual favors. Individuals on any job can be victims of such unwanted sexual attention.

Is there a lot of sexual harassment?

Like rape, most sexual harassment goes unreported because the victims are somehow made to feel ashamed of what has happened to them. They are afraid that other people will say “they asked for it” or that no one will believe them or they will not be able to prove it and will be branded as “trouble-makers”. Rather than face embarrassment and retaliation, many victims who are lucky enough to transfer or get a new job elsewhere, quietly leave without saying anything. This leaves the harasser free to victimize others.

Is sexual harassment on the job unlawful?

Yes, Federal and state laws prohibit sexual harassment in the workplace. However, victims of sexual harassment outside places of employment may not have the same protection. The Nevada Equal Rights Commission’s jurisdiction of equal employment includes some of the strongest provisions in the nation, along with those of Title VII of the 1964 Federal Civil Rights Act. Court opinions in this relatively new area of the law may vary. State and other laws prohibit retaliation against individuals who file complaints. Victims don’t have to fight sexual harassment by themselves. The Nevada Equal Rights commission and other organizations can help.

How Long Will My Case Take To Complete?

Every case is unique. Thus, it is impossible to correctly estimate the exact duration of a certain case. Cases involving car accidents, dog bites, and defective or negligently maintained premises are generally resolved faster than more complicated negligence cases. For example, defective product cases, brain injury or slip and fall may take longer to resolve. While recovery in simple cases can sometimes occur in just a few months, it may take several years to recover fair value in more complex cases. Either way, Lagomarsino Law will work as efficiently as possible in order recover fair compensation for your injuries. Our lawyers pledge never to settle for a low offer merely for the sake of settling a case, if they believe you legally deserve more. Having managed thousands of cases, it is our experience that cases hastily completed generally produce lower recoveries than those afforded due diligence.

What should you do about sexual harassment on the job?

First, individuals should not ignore harassment or blame themselves, even though this is a normal reaction. Nor should they think harassment is a joke or an accident since experience shows that the harassment will continue or increase if it is ignored. Instead, a person should respond immediately and directly to the offender to indicate that the behavior or remark is not acceptable.

  • Say NO to the offender. Make it clear that you do not approve of his or her actions. Any evidence that you went along could lessen your chance of success in a formal complaint procedure.
  • Tell them any repeated behavior will be reported to their boss. When the unacceptable behavior happens again, speak with their boss and or other appropriate employer-employee representatives-such as an equal employment opportunity officer, affirmative action officer, union shop steward or other union officials. Write a follow up memo to the person with whom you spoke and keep a copy for yourself, so you will have a written record of the conversation.
  • If the harassment continues to occur, keep a log with dates and times of remarks and behavior that you consider offensive. Keep a record or any memo or complaints; if you decide to bring charges, these items will aid in accurate testimony. Whenever possible, try to get other people both men and women as witnesses to your harassment. Other persons could also be victims and can help in taking joint action against your harasser.
  • Seek early advice from fair employment enforcement agencies or women’s right agencies. Know your rights so you can best protect them. Learn about the limits imposed by some courts and what actions would be considered unlawful retaliations by your employer and harasser.

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