During the holiday season, the workplace is usually busier for most people. To celebrate the hard work of employees, companies often host holiday parties. While these gatherings are meant to reward and appreciate workers, some coworkers or bosses can turn them into traumatic memories with inappropriate sexual advances. In many cases, alcohol is served at the parties, and that often fuels inappropriate behavior. Also, parties that are hosted at bars or clubs often encourage bad behavior. If you were the target of sexual assault or unwanted sexual advances at a company holiday party, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit. Our attorneys understand these problems and how traumatic they can be to victims, which is why we work as discreetly as possible.
According to the law, sexual assault includes forcible contact. This can be touching, grabbing or pushing. If the person is also making sexual comments, touches intimate parts or makes forceful-sounding statements, a judge is likely to see it as sexual assault. These types of behaviors can be punishable as criminal offences. If someone involves you in sexual acts against your will, it is a crime. The level of the crime is usually determined in a series of classes, which are decided based on force and the other surrounding details. For example, if you did not have the ability to consent and were involved, the perpetrator can be charged with a Class E felony. There are also degrees to the classes, which indicate the severity of the crime.
Filing criminal charges against a perpetrator is a good step in getting justice for yourself. It may also prevent the person from hurting someone else in the future. However, these benefits may be far from enough to make up for the emotional trauma, medical bills, therapy or other needs that you developed from the incident. Although judges often order restitution in such cases, that compensation is usually inadequate to meet your current and future needs. A good attorney can help you file a lawsuit and seek a fairer amount of compensation for your injuries.
If you are assaulted in the future, call the police before you file a report at work. If you were assaulted recently at a holiday party, it helps to notify the authorities and your employer to have documentation of the incident. Your employer cannot punish you for this. Next, contact an attorney to see what other steps you should take. In New York City, you can also file a report with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission if you work for a sizable company. Federal and state laws protect you from assault, discrimination and harassment in all sizes of workplaces.
When you choose to seek criminal charges and compensation for your injuries, there are two separate cases. The criminal actions are handled in criminal court, and the personal injury lawsuit for compensation is handled in civil court. Even if a criminal case is dismissed, an accused perpetrator may still have to pay civil damages to a victim if there is enough supporting evidence. Since the findings of the criminal case may affect the civil case, it is essential to have an attorney who can handle such complexities.
At Leeds Brown Law, we have helped many victims recover compensation for sexual assault incidents at holiday parties and in other scenarios. If you were assaulted at a holiday party and want to see if you may be entitled to compensation, please contact us for a free and confidential evaluation. For your convenience, we have offices in the Downtown, Midtown and Long Island areas.