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Questions about Sexual Abuse at Work

Sexual abuse at work is a topic that can be uncomfortable for most to talk about openly. That is why many cases of sexual harassment at the workplace or even households go un-reported as the victims suffer silently rather than face embarrassment. Today, not only women but even men face sexual abuse at the workplace and one feels awkward discussing the same even with their closest confidants. Getting answers to questions about your legal rights when faced with sexual abuse is possible when you ask an Employment Lawyer on JustAnswer. Moreover, the expert lawyers can help you understand the different sexual abuse laws and even help you combat gender harassment. Here are some of the instances where people got solutions to their queries with the help of answers from Experts on JustAnswer.

In Iowa if a 16 year old faces sexual abuse from a 24 year old co-worker, what can you do if the minor has had consensual sex with the person while she was 15?

According to the laws in Iowa, even if a minor (up to the age of 15) had consensual sex with an adult, it could be treated as a case of third degree sexual harassment, because the Iowa Code’s Section 709.4 states that a person can be charged with Sexual Abuse of the third degree under the following circumstance:

The victim of sexual abuse is aged between fourteen to fifteen years and any of the following conditions hold true:
a. The victim and the accused are both members of the same household.
b. The accused is holding a position of authority over the victim and he/she makes use of this authority in order to coerce the victim to submit.
c. The accused is older than the victim by five or more years.

This means that you can consider pressing criminal charges against the person in question.

She can report continued harassment to her employer and also state that the person is abusing others at work besides her as well (if that is the case). If the employer takes no action, then even the employer can be held liable for the actions and words of the abusive employee who creates any form of “hostile environment” at the workplace.

Also, if the employer fails to take cognizance of the issue at this point, you can file a formal complaint with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). If you have further questions on what your rights are and what action you can take, ask an Employment Lawyer on JustAnswer to answer your questions about sexual abuse laws and gender harassment in the workplace.

In Alabama, if I am being sued for sexual harassment by a former employee and I no longer work for the company, can I be held liable and am I obligated to cooperate with the investigation?

In such a situation you would normally have a valid defense against the complaint. Also, if the charges against you are substantiated, it can be your employer who would be held vicariously liable for your actions. Also, most of the courts in Alabama reject the theory that the liability of such acts can be on individual supervisors on a personal basis for any sexual abuse at your workplaces. If you have any other questions about sexual harassment at workplace or sexual abuse laws, do ask Employment Lawyers on JustAnswer.

I have been demoted based on an accusation of sexual abuse by a co-worker's fiancée. Things said in jest, were taken out of context and were complained about six weeks later. What are my liabilities, if any?

As per the law, even comments made in jest can usually be acted upon. There may not be much that can be done in this case if it can be proved that the comments were actually made and were abusive in nature. Although your colleague may have laughed it off, and you may not have meant what you said, it may not protect you from the law. Your demotion and/or termination by your employer suggests that they are acting on the complaint because if they failed to take action, they would be held equally responsible under EEOC rules.

Your best recourse under the circumstances may be to hire an attorney as that will help you deal with any future complaints.

My husband was accused of sexual harassment and fired without a chance to defend himself. His former boss wouldn't even tell him what he'd been accused of or when it supposedly happened. Is this legal?

If your husband works in an “at will” employment state without an agreement that prevents him from being terminated without cause, and if he isn’t a member of an employee union, he may have no legal right to continued employment. His employer can usually terminate his services for no reason in an “at will” employment state. This could explain why he did not get any chance to defend himself. If you have any follow up questions about your rights and sex abuse laws, feel to ask an Employment Lawyer on JustAnswer.

What can be done if repeated complaints of sexual abuse at workplace made to employers are not acted upon?

Generally, if an employer does not act upon a sex abuse complaint that he or she has received, the complainant can approach the local Equal Employment Opportunities Office (EOCC) and file a grievance with respect to the same. Also, one should file in all the evidence that he or she has with the EOCC.

There are two possibilities that may arise due to this. Firstly, if the EOCC finds fault, they may choose to investigate this case themselves. Secondly, in case they cannot do so they may issue a formal “right to sue letter” to your husband which will let him sue his employer directly by hiring an attorney for the same. All this will also depend upon your state sex abuse laws and how gender harassment at workplace is looked upon by the state he is employed in.

One often faces difficulties when he or she is subjected to sex abuse and gender harassment at the workplace. There can even be instances when the complaints filed are not entirely true. People can ask an Employment Lawyer on JustAnswer and get replies quickly and in an affordable manner. Getting answers and legal opinions on sex abuse laws, gender harassment at the workplace and other issues is now possible with JustAnswer.
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