Sexual Coercion

It is no mystery that some people do not know when to stop, often they believe that to get what they want, they need to push harder and mount pressure even when that means sexually coercing another person in the work place. Generally, sexual coercion is the act of pressuring, intimidating, tricking threatening or forcing an employee in a nonphysical way to engage in an unwanted sexual act. Workplace sexual coercion usually involves a superior officer in the workplace as well as the use of devices like power, deception and favoritism, denial of rights, privileges and rewards to gain sexual benefits from an employee. Sexual Coercion can be difficult to identify because there are a few instances where it is done openly or before witnesses, it is mostly carried out secretly by the perpetrators. It comes in a wide range of unwelcome sexual acts or excessive contact or communication with an employee of a sexual nature, to the point where that employee feels intimidated, exhausted, traumatized or afraid.

Penal Law §135.60 describes coercion to have occurred when the offender compels or induces a person by inculcating fear in the victim so much so that the victim believes that he or she is in danger of harm of injury to his or her person, property, reputation, job, personal relationships, etc., if the sexual demand of the perpetrator is not met with.

Forms Of Sexual Coercion

Sexual coercion is not limited to but may come in the following forms:

  • Verbally: – this is sexual coercion by means of spoken words and may include begging persistently, lying to entice, flattering the victim, name calling, peer pressure, and arguing.
  • Physically: – this is sexual coercion by means of physical force or pressure on the victim.
  • Emotionally: – this is sexual coercion by means of emotional and psychological manipulation such as taking advantage of a person’s feelings, trust or instability.

The use of authority by a superior officer, ingesting the victim with excessive alcohol to impair his or her thought process are also common examples of coercion, threatening or blackmailing an employee into having sexual relations by using guilt of a past incident or personal information that may likely get him or her fired, demoted or disciplined are examples of sexual coercion in the workplace.

In some instances, sexual coercion could become rape or another form of sexual assault. Forced sexual contact is subject to punishment in both civil and criminal court. Hence, it is nothing to take lightly. Speak to us about it today. Call our attorneys at DeToffol & Gittleman for your free and confidential consultation; contact us today at (212) 962-2220.