21Dec, 2017

Sexual Harassment in North Carolina Can Be a Sex Crime
Posted By: Schlosser & Pritchett

Sexual Harassment in North Carolina Can Be a Sex Crime

With everything in the news lately, you’re probably well aware of the fact that our country is undergoing something of an awakening where sexual harassment is concerned. With all of the talk and so many prominent men getting ousted, you might be wondering exactly what constitutes sexual harassment in North Carolina and whether these acts qualify as sex crimes in our state.

The answer, unfortunately, is not straight forward. While sexual harassment itself isn’t necessarily a criminal act, certain types of harassment can be criminal. Below, we’re going to detail what behaviors are considered sexual harassment in North Carolina, and at what point the line is crossed between harassment and an actual sex crime.

How North Carolina Defines Sexual Harassment

In general, an isolated incident, a careless remark, or a sexual joke will not be considered sexual harassment. If a charge is filed, the court will want to know if the following statements are true to pursue a conviction:

The work environment is hostile.

If the employee filing the charge can prove that the work environment was intimidating, offensive, or hostile, and that an employer knew about it (or should have known about it) but did nothing to stop or fix the problem, the case may stand in court. If the employee was unable to complete his or her work due to the harassment, whether written, verbal, or physical, a charge may be filed.

The behavior becomes a condition of employment.

If an employee’s consent or submission to sexual harassment is either an implicit or explicit condition of employment, the employee has a right to file a complaint.

The behavior affects employment decisions.

If an employer propositions an employee for sexual favors in exchange for employment benefits or privileges, this is considered harassment. Also, if an employee refuses to comply and then experiences retribution for saying no, a case may be filed. In one case, the court sided with an employee who said she faced retaliation from her employer after filing a complaint.

Defining When Harassment Becomes Criminal

While harassment itself may not be criminal, a charge can be filed if any unwanted sexual contact is made.

Under North Carolina law, sexual contact is any touching of a victim’s sexual organs, groin, anus, breast, or buttocks, or touching another person with one’s own sexual organ, groin, anus, breast, or buttocks.

North Carolina Sexual Harrassment Lawyers

The touching is unlawful regardless of whether the victim is clothed, the offender uses his or her own clothing to make contact, or if contact is made directly. For example, rubbing up against someone without consent is unlawful, even if both people are clothed.

An offense that involves sexual contact is a charge of sexual battery, which is a Class A1 misdemeanor under state law. Other sex crimes may apply as well, depending on the nature and extent of the sexual act or contact.

If You Are Facing Charges

Sexual harassment cases can quickly lead to sex crime charges if the nature of the alleged actions is deemed criminal. That’s why, if you have been accused of sexual harassment, it’s vital to contact an experienced Greensboro criminal attorney to defend you.

These types of cases typically hinge on whether there is enough evidence to support the plaintiff’s claim, but even if allegations are false, they can damage your reputation. You need someone to protect you. Schedule an appointment today to start building a solid defense against your charges.

 

About the Author: 

Jan Elliott Pritchett?is Managing Partner at the Law Firm of?Schlosser & Pritchett?and one of North Carolina’s top rated criminal defense attorneys. With a practice dedicated 100% to litigation, Mr. Pritchett protects the legal rights of clients who have been charged in federal and state criminal matters, as well as DUI/DWi, motor vehicle accidents, personal injury, and traffic violations. In practice since 1995, Mr. Pritchett has earned a reputation as a highly talented and fearless lawyer, being listed among the state’s “Legal Elite” and recognized as one of the Top 100 DWI Lawyers in North Carolina by the National Advocacy of DUI Defense.? He currently serves as the Co-Chairman of the North Carolina State Board of Legal Specialization, Criminal Law Specialty, and Vice-Chairman of the North Carolina Bar Association, Criminal Justice Section.