By Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal
No, while reprehensible in and of itself it does not constitute a crime.
Sexual harassment whereby one or more employer or co-worker creates a hostile work environment for other workers is civil, not criminal. This means a person’s remedy is in the courts is through a lawsuit they normally bring themselves.
But there could be over-lap between sexual harassment and actual sex crimes.
Sex crimes are typically committed where there is unwanted touching or exposure. So crude talk, innuendo, or inappropriate language are not enough to rise to the level of a criminal offense. However, possible criminal liability can ensue such as indecent exposure, simple assault if there is unwanted non-sexual touching, or even sexual assault.
Can I Be Charged With A Sex Crime Even If I’m Being Sued for Sexual Harassment?
In theory, yes.
I worked at an employment law boutique right out of law school. I don’t know that I ever saw that happen. People who sue generally don’t go to the police… and when they do AFTER going to a lawyer first, I suspect the police are a bit leery of a money-grab (not to mention the case has normally gotten much older).
If you’re being prosecuted for a sex crime and are now worried about a sexual harassment claim — that’s normally hard to do too. Sexual harassment claims have very tight time-lines which could be lost by this point. If you’re being prosecuted for a sex crime of any time then sexual harassment is a much lesser matter in my book.
*Jeremy Rosenthal is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and licensed by the Supreme Court of Texas. He has been recognized as a Super Lawyer by Thomson Reuters.