Workers often fear that their employer will take negative employment action if they file a complaint for sexual harassment. However, it is unlawful for an employer to retaliate against an employee for reporting unwelcome harassment.
If you are afraid of reporting sexual harassment at work, be aware that there are laws designed to protect your rights. Standing up for your right not to be discriminated against is considered protected activity under state and federal law. It is illegal for an employer to retaliate against a worker for doing so. This means that your employer would be breaking the law if they fired you, demoted you, lowered your wages or passed you up for a promotion because you filed a sexual harassment complaint.
Workers are also protected from retaliation under the following federal laws:
- Civil Rights Act of 1964
- Age Discrimination and Employment Act (ADEA)
- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
- Rehabilitation Act
- Equal Pay Act (EPA)
- Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA)
For more information about retaliation, visit https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/facts-retal.cfm.
It is also helpful to be aware of the types of retaliation that can take place in the workplace. Retaliation does not just mean termination, but can also be any form of negative employment action. Examples include demotion, verbal abuse or harassment, moving a worker to a less desirable shift, poor performance reviews or other more subtle negative behavior or action.
You are protected from any kind of retaliatory behavior from your employer. When you report sexual harassment, your employer is required by law to respond quickly with a thorough, objective investigation followed by appropriate action should they find your complaint to be valid. Should your employer fail to respond appropriately to your complaint, or if they retaliate against you for filing a complaint, you can file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and/or speak with an experienced employment attorney.
If you believe you have been retaliated against for reporting sexual harassment in the workplace, talk to a qualified employment law attorney to help you determine your rights and how to proceed with your claim.
Other Frequently Asked Questions
- According to the rules for overtime pay in California, how long do I have to file an overtime pay claim?
- Am I entitled to overtime pay?
- Are there any restrictions on what an employer can ask me during a job interview?
- Can employers assign work based on employees’ ages?
- Can I get fired for reporting sexual harassment to my employer?
- Can my employer ask about my age?
- Can my employer legitimately deduct anything from my paycheck?
- Can temps file discrimination lawsuits?
- Does an employer have to give me rest breaks?
- How and when do you file an unlawful retaliation lawsuit?
- How can I prove age discrimination in my workplace?
- How do I recognize on-the-job discrimination?
- How is illegal retaliation defined?
- How is national origin discrimination defined?
- How to Report Sexual Harassment at Work?
- I am scared to report sexual harassment because I fear that I will be retaliated against by my employer. What should I do?
- I was sick and had to take a leave of absence. When I came back to work, I was fired. Is it wrong for me to be fired?
- If I was sexually assaulted many years ago, can I still bring a civil lawsuit for damages?
- If my employer violated the terms in the employee handbook by firing me, can I hold him responsible?
- Is my employer responsible if I am sexually harassed at a company-sponsored event outside of working hours?
- Is sexual battery charged as a misdemeanor or felony?
- My employer does not pay mileage reimbursement when I use my own car for company business. What is the California law on mileage reimbursement?
- My employer does not pay overtime pay. What is the California law on overtime pay? Am I supposed to receive overtime on my commission also?
- My employer yelled and cursed at me. Can I sue him or her for harassment?
- What are my rights regarding breaks and meal periods?
- What are the federal and state laws and regulations which provide legal protections for employees?
- What are the signs of age discrimination in the workplace?
- What are the time limits for filing a sexual harassment claim?
- What can I do if I see my co-worker being sexually harassed? Can I file a suit against it?
- What can I do if I was wrongfully terminated?
- What evidence is necessary in order to help prove national origin discrimination under Title VII?
- What is age discrimination? What are some examples of age discrimination?
- What is an “at will” work state?
- What is national origin discrimination under Title VII?
- What is overtime in California? Does an employer have to pay me overtime and how much should they pay me?
- What is the ADEA?
- What is the California law for vacation pay? My employer does not want to pay me for unused vacation pay when I quit or was terminated.
- What is the difference between sexual violence, sexual assault and sexual harassment?
- What proof of discrimination at work do I need to include in a discrimination complaint?
- What qualifies as discrimination?
- What qualifies as sexual harassment at work?
- What should I do if I was sexually harassed?