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Are There More Cases of Sexual Harassment on Valentine's Day?

Valentine's Day is an incredibly important holiday for some to celebrate their loved ones. It's common for many offices and workplaces to acknowledge the day, but it's become clear in recent years that doing so can have unintended consequences.

It's worth taking a look at the holiday to determine if it's a magnet for sexual harassment claims and, if this is indeed the case, what can be done to minimize one’s risk. It's also important to know how a criminal defense attorney can help you if you are accused of sexual harassment.

What Constitutes Sexual Harassment

It's important to know what is and is not considered harassment. Sexual harassment claims are rarely successful against truly 'innocent' behavior but are rather more likely to succeed against actions that cross social boundaries and that show a lack of respect for individuals in the workplace. Acts that may constitute sexual harassment in the workplace include:

  • Unwelcome sexual advances

  • Requests for sexual favors

  • Offensive remarks about a person’s sex

Although the law does not prohibit isolated instances of teasing or offhand comments, it can be construed as sexual harassment when the acts are frequent and severe. This line can be tough to judge for some, however, and actions with reasonable explanations might still cross the line of sexual harassment.

Valentine’s Day and Harassment

It's difficult to say if there are more cases of sexual harassment on Valentine's Day than on other days of the year, or if the number of claims increases because there are more acts that can be misconstrued in a negative manner.

If Valentine's Day doesn't actually give rise to more harassment than usual, then it is a day where one can misconstrue the intentions of another’s act into something that they are not. For example, an individual may feel cause to report his or her coworker for sexual harassment if they are:

  • Sending special emails or Valentine’s Day cards

  • Singling out a coworker with gifts or cards

  • Commenting on an individual’s sex or love life

Being personable and friendly is rarely a problem at the office, but make sure that you avoid crossing any lines that could be misconstrued as an act of sexual harassment.

How to Avoid Accusations

The best way to avoid sexual harassment accusations is to act in a business-like manner at the office. Stop for a moment and consider all the angles when you take action - if you think that another person might interpret your actions as sexual harassment, there's a good chance that you're leaving yourself open to problems.

If you have been accused of a crime on this day, you need the assistance of an aggressive criminal defense attorney like Mark Raymond McDonald. It doesn't matter if you think that your actions were innocent - you need a skilled criminal defense attorney on your side that will help you through the nuances of these laws.