How to Handle Retaliation After Reporting Sexual Harassment

Wheaton sexual harassment attorney for retaliationThe challenge of sexual harassment in the workplace affects employees across various industries. While reporting such misconduct is a crucial step in combating it, victims often face another insidious problem – retaliation. It is important for those who have experienced sexual harassment to understand how to address potential retaliation that may occur after reporting an incident.

Understanding Your Rights

Federal and state laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Illinois Human Rights Act, protect employees from retaliation for reporting sexual harassment. These laws prohibit employers from punishing employees who engage in “protected activities” such as filing a harassment complaint or participating in an investigation.

Recognizing Retaliation

Retaliation can take many forms. It may be blatant, such as demotion, job reassignment, pay cuts, or termination. However, it can also be more subtle, including things such as exclusion from meetings, negative performance reviews, or hostile treatment from supervisors or colleagues. Understanding what constitutes retaliation is the first step in addressing it.

Documenting the Retaliation

If you believe you are facing retaliation, it’s crucial to document all instances meticulously. Keep a detailed record of incidents, dates, times, locations, and the people involved. Save any relevant emails, text messages, or other written communications. If there are any witnesses, note their names. This documentation can serve as evidence if you decide to take legal action.

Reporting the Retaliation

Once you have documented the retaliation, report it to your employer. This may involve speaking with a supervisor, your human resources department, or following a procedure outlined in your employee handbook. In all cases, be sure to memorialize the complaint via e-mail to human resources and/or management so that you will have a permanent record of the complaint.You also have the option to file a complaint with external government entities like the Illinois Department of Human Rights and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission if you experience adverse actions based on your reporting of sexual harassment and/or discrimination.

Coping Mechanisms and Support Networks

Facing sexual harassment and retaliation can be stressful and emotionally draining. It is crucial to maintain your mental health during this time. You can seek support from trusted friends, family, or professional therapists. Joining support groups can also be helpful. This can not only provide you with emotional benefits, but it can help you remain informed of the steps you can take to address sexual harassment and retaliation.

Contact a Wheaton Sexual Harrassment Lawyer

Retaliation after reporting sexual harassment is a serious issue, but you do not have to face it alone. By seeking help from an DuPage County sexual harassment attorney, you can navigate this challenging situation successfully. A lawyer can review your documentation, advise you on the next steps, and provide you with representation in any legal proceedings. They can also help you understand your rights and options under the law. Call Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC at 630-665-7300 to learn more about how our attorneys can help with your case.


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In honor of the passing of our founder, Joseph F. Mirabella, Jr., our offices are closed Friday, January 31, 2020.I Agree