If you or a loved one has experienced sexual abuse at work, you are likely experiencing a great deal of stress and you may be struggling to understand your legal rights. No one ever anticipates being sexually abused. It can be shocking and unnerving. It is important to speak to a Portland workplace sexual abuse attorney who can answer your questions and help you pursue justice and legal recourse.
Don’t hesitate to contact D’Amore Law Group today.
What Is Sexual Abuse?
There is a common misconception that behavior is not considered sexual abuse unless there is a sexual violation and violent behavior. That is not true. Any time a person touches another person in a sexual manner without consent, it is sexual abuse. Examples include:
- Non-consensual contact including groping, fondling, or any other sexual touching;
- Any sexual activity with a minor (person under the age of 18);
- Coerced sexual activity through improper use of power or position;
- Sexual activity with someone who lacks the capacity to consent;
- Distribution of photos or videos of sexual acts without consent (includes taking the photos or videos); and
- Any forced performance of sexual acts.
Many victims struggle with understanding if what they have been through constitutes sexual abuse. If you have had any uncomfortable or non-consensual contact, it is worth contacting a workplace sexual abuse lawyer in Portland to discuss your unique situation.
What Is the Difference Between Sexual Abuse and Sexual Harassment?
Unlike sexual abuse, sexual harassment does not require an element of contact. Harassment often includes verbal statements or visuals of a sexual nature. Some examples include inappropriate sexual comments, texts, emails, or vulgar displays toward the victim.
Like sexual abuse, if you have experienced harassment of any sort, you have legal options.
Sexual harassment cases generally involve state and federal employment laws rather than tort law. A workplace sexual abuse attorney in Portland can help you determine whether you have a sexual abuse or sexual harassment claim, which may determine what type of lawyer is best suited to handle your case. In some cases, you may have a basis for both types of claims.
How Do You Hold Someone Liable for Sexual Abuse?
In most sexual abuse cases, the victim will have the right to both file a civil lawsuit and press criminal charges against the abuser. The standards of proof are different for these two court systems, as are the punishments.
A civil lawsuit is a way to seek justice and receive financial compensation for physical, mental, and emotional damages you have suffered. No amount of money can ever take away the abuse, but it can serve justice and be used to help you receive the help and financial stability you may need to move forward. Legal consequences in a criminal case likely involve some form of fines or incarceration.
Depending on the circumstances of your abuse and the evidence available, your Portland workplace sexual abuse lawyer may encourage you to pursue criminal charges with local law enforcement along with your civil case. For a civil claim, you must prove that the abuser more likely than not committed the abuse. In a criminal case, the accused must be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, which is a higher threshold.
Who Is Liable For Workplace Sexual Abuse?
Undoubtedly, the person who committed the abuse should be held liable. It is also important to know that any individuals in the workplace who supported, encouraged, or failed to prevent the abuse when in a position to do so may also be at fault.
Your employer has a duty of care to ensure a safe working environment with an established protocol for reporting sexual abuse. If you report abuse or harassment to your employer and they refuse to take action, they may be held responsible.
Though it may be uncomfortable, it is important to speak openly to your attorney regarding your workplace sexual abuse. Reflecting on the details and circumstances of your abuse with your Portland workplace sexual abuse attorney can help uncover important evidence and bring other potentially liable parties to light.
What Damages Can Be Recovered for Workplace Sexual Abuse?
Pursuing a lawsuit through the civil court system is a good way to bring your abuser into the light and prevent them from doing the same thing to someone else. It is important that they face repercussions for what they have done. In most workplace sexual abuse cases, both economic and noneconomic damages are available.
Sexual abuse can have serious implications on a victim’s life, including a financial toll. Depending on the nature of the sexual abuse, you may have costly medical bills associated with physical or mental healthcare for what you have endured. Survivors of workplace sexual abuse may also find themselves unable to work, which only adds to the financial burden. Economic damages are out-of-pocket costs and may include:
- Emergency medical care,
- Present and future medical expenses,
- Travel costs to and from treatment,
- Mental health care, and
- Lost wages.
Economic damages are determined using bills and receipts as well as expert testimony regarding long-term prognosis.
In sexual abuse cases, noneconomic damages may potentially be higher than economic damages. These types of damages account for the mental, physical, and emotional impact of what has happened to you and may include compensation for:
- Pain and suffering,
- Post-traumatic stress,
- Embarrassment, and
- Other forms of mental anguish.
Though it is more difficult to put a dollar amount on noneconomic damages than economic damages, your Portland workplace sexual abuse lawyer will work with you to gather the necessary evidence to prove the value of your case.
Contact a Portland Workplace Sexual Abuse Attorney
The team at D’Amore Law Group understands the sensitive nature of workplace sexual abuse cases, and we are here to help you through the process of finding justice and some sense of peace. Our practice emphasizes representing clients who have been seriously impacted by the wrongful actions of individuals, corporations, or other entities. Our attorneys have dedicated decades of their practice to helping families and have successfully concluded thousands of cases. Contact us today to discuss your case. There is no consultation fee and no risk to learning more about your options.