Posted On: November 18, 2011 by Peter M. LaSorsa

Sexual Harassment Defense Of Consent

My Chicago office is seeing a real increase in the number of sexual harassment defense claims of consent. It usually starts with the employee filing a complaint of sexual harassment and backing it up with evidence such as text messages or emails. The person doing the harassing then if left with two choices. They can't deny the sex text messages so they can't deny there was sex talk. They could admit to harassing the person but usually they do not. Instead they claim the sex talk with consensual and two-way and therefore consensual. In affect they are claiming there is no sexual harassment because the advances were warranted.

The problem with this theory is, the person doing the harassing is usually in a position of power so there really can't be a true consent. Second, usually the evidence shows the person doing the harassing is sending more texts and it starting the text message chain. I tell my clients not to be afraid of this type of defense and don't let it discourage you from coming forward. At the end of the day, text messages are usually the best evidence you can have. I file many cases at the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR") regarding sexual harassment cases involving text messages.