Are Sexual Harassment Lawsuits Civil or Criminal Cases?

dupage county sexual harassment lawyerVictims of sexual harassment are often torn about who to tell and where to go for help. Depending on the details of the harassment, you may not know who in your company you should go to or you may even feel uncomfortable speaking to the person you need to speak to. Furthermore, you may not want the person harassing you to get in serious criminal trouble, even if you are intent on getting the harassment to stop. If any of this sounds familiar to you, speak with an Illinois sexual harassment attorney right away. 

Do I Go to the Police About Workplace Sexual Harassment? 

As with most legal questions, the answer is, “It depends.” Certain types of sexual harassment rise to the level of criminal assault and require the intervention of the authorities. Rape and other forms of physical and sexual assault, blackmail, trafficking, and other serious forms of sexual crimes certainly warrant police attention and may result in criminal charges being brought against the accused. 

However, sexual harassment at work is generally far more subtle than outright physical or verbal threats; for example, some of the most common types of sexual harassment include: 

  • Inappropriate jokes with sexual innuendo
  • Comments about sexual orientation 
  • Unwanted contact or touching, such as an “accidental” brush on the buttocks 
  • Implicit requests for sexual favors, especially in a quid-pro-quo arrangement 
  • Inappropriate sexual photos, emails, or texts

Because acts of workplace sexual harassment can be difficult to pinpoint or embarrassing to explain, it can be equally difficult to know what to do after it occurs. Depending on the structure of the company you work for and who is harassing you, you may need to complain to your supervisor, their supervisor, human resources, or the company’s owner. 

If your complaints are not resolved by the company, you and your attorney can consider filing a claim through the Illinois Department of Human Rights to conduct an investigation. If the IDHR finds substantial evidence, you will be given a “right to sue” notice, and you can take your case to court. These types of lawsuits are civil lawsuits, and are usually brought against a company, rather than an individual, for failing to respond to sexual harassment complaints.  

Contact a Wheaton, IL Sexual Harassment Attorney Today

At MKFM Law, over the last twenty-five plus years, we have worked with hundreds of victims of workplace sexual harassment, and we know that it can be difficult to know where to turn for help. Our team of DuPage County sexual harassment attorneys is here to assist you however we can as you seek justice. Call us today at 630-665-7300 to schedule an Initial Attorney Meeting and learn more about sexual harassment lawsuits. 


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From our law office in Wheaton, IL the family law and civil litigation law attorneys of Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick and Mirabella, represent businesses and individual clients throughout the western suburbs of Chicago, Illinois including Wheaton, Naperville, Oak Brook, Glen Ellyn, Carol Stream, Lombard, Downers Grove, Burr Ridge, Lisle, Elmhurst, Oakbrook Terrace, Winfield, Woodridge, Warrenville and throughout DuPage, Kane and Kendall Counties.

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In honor of the passing of our founder, Joseph F. Mirabella, Jr., our offices are closed Friday, January 31, 2020.I Agree