Sexual Harassment Retaliation
Most employees know that there are laws that protect them against sexual harassment in the workplace, and with the widespread cultural shift against sexual misconduct in recent years there are more complaints being made against employers than ever before.
But what happens when an employee reports sexual harassment and is then further punished for making a legitimate report?
Under federal and certain state and local workplace discrimination laws, sexual harassment retaliation is also prohibited and can form the basis of a lawsuit or administrative claim against an employer. This article contains general information about sexual harassment retaliation. It is not legal advice or a substitute for speaking to a qualified sexual harassment retaliation lawyer about your case.
What is Sexual Harassment Retaliation?
Sexual harassment retaliation occurs when an employer treats an applicant, employee, or former employee less favorably for:
- Complaining of or reporting sex discrimination or sexual harassment (for example, by making a report to human resources or an equal employment commission or agency);
- Participating into an investigation or lawsuit involving sex discrimination or sexual harassment (for example, by serving as a witness); or
- Opposing sex discrimination or sexual harassment (for example, by threatening to make a report to human resources, retaining an employment lawyer, or indicating plans to file a charge or complaint of discrimination).
Under certain circumstances, it may also be illegal for employers to retaliate against other people closely associated with individuals who report sexual harassment. Sometimes, sexual harassment retaliation is obvious (like when an employer fires an employee despite excellent job performance shortly after he or she reports sexual harassment by a supervisor).
Other times, sexual harassment retaliation can be much more subtle. An employee may suspect that his or her job or shift reassignment or exclusion from workplace social events is related to reporting sexual harassment, but there may be no clear-cut evidence.
In these cases, an experienced sexual harassment lawyer can help determine whether illegal retaliation has occurred based on the overall circumstances of the situation.
What Laws Apply to Sexual Harassment Retaliation?
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is the primary federal law that prohibits sexual harassment and sexual harassment retaliation.
Under Title VII, sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination and includes a wide variety of inappropriate conduct such as unwelcome sexual comments or advances, requests for sex or sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. State laws in New Jersey and Pennsylvania also prohibit sexual harassment retaliation.
Sexual harassment retaliation can take a variety of forms, including demotion or reduction of job duties, termination, reassignment to a different department, exclusion from training or other staff activities, denial of a raise or promotion, or unwarranted poor performance reviews.
If you have suffered any of these consequences as a result of making a legitimate report of sexual harassment or sexual misconduct, you should speak to an employment lawyer about your case right away.
What Remedies Are Available in Sexual Harassment Retaliation Cases?
If you file a lawsuit or administrative complaint against your employer for sexual harassment retaliation, you may be able to obtain money and/or other legal remedies. Possible remedies include:
- Your employer may be required to stop sexual harassment retaliation before it occurs or continues;
- Your employer may be required to pay money damages to compensate you and/or punish your employer for the sexual harassment retaliation;
- Your employer may be required to reinstate your job or prior position; and/or
- Your employer may be required to pay back pay, front pay, or other benefits.
How Can a Sexual Harassment Retaliation Lawyer Help?
The anti-discrimination laws that apply to sexual harassment retaliation claims are complex. In addition, employers typically hire aggressive civil defense firms when facing these types of claims. This is why it’s so important for you to find an experienced workplace rights’ lawyer to protect your legal interests and advocate for your rights.
The employment lawyers at Console Mattiacci have years of experience fighting for workers and recently secured a six-figure judgment in favor of a client who was terminated after reporting sexual harassment. To speak to a workplace rights lawyer about your sexual harassment retaliation case, call Console Mattiacci at (215) 545-7676.