I Was Fired for Making a Sexual Harassment Complaint, Now What?
Across the country, men and women are saying “no more” to workplace sexual harassment. No one should be made to tolerate demeaning sexual remarks and behavior while they are at work. However, many people stay silent about sexual harassment because they are afraid reporting the sexual harassment will get them fired. Fortunately, there are laws in place which prohibit employers from firing an employee for making a sexual harassment complaint.
What Constitutes Sexual Harassment?
There are two types of sexual harassment recognized by the law: quid pro quo and hostile work environment harassment. Quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when a superior attempts to trade sexual attention for workplace perks or continued employment. Hostile work environment harassment occurs when derogatory, discriminatory, or sexual comments and behavior interferes with an employee’s ability to do his or her job.
Can I Sue for Wrongful Termination?
Illinois is an at-will state, which means an employee can be fired at any time and for almost any reason. However, there are several exceptions to the at-will rule. Legally, an Illinois employer cannot fire an employee for discriminatory reasons or in retaliation for the employee exercising his or her rights. Sexual harassment is a type of employment discrimination protected against by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other laws. If the only reason a person was fired was because they complained about sexual harassment, they may bring a wrongful termination lawsuit against the employer.
Damages in a Wrongful Termination Lawsuit
The purpose of a wrongful termination suit is to recover compensation for damages caused by the wrongful termination. If you bring a wrongful termination suit against your employer, you and your legal counsel will have to prove that you suffered financial losses due to your employer's wrongful actions, as well as the amount of those losses. Damages in a wrongful termination case typically include lost wages, or the income you would have received if your employer had not fired you. Lost wages include wages, overtime, and any other compensation the employer withheld. Damages can also include the loss of employment benefits such as medical insurance, pensions, 401(k) plans, stock options, profit sharing, and more. In wrongful termination cases where the actions of the employer were especially injurious, compensation for emotional distress may be available. In especially egregious wrongful termination cases, the employer may even be forced to pay punitive damages.
Contact an Illinois Employment Discrimination Attorney
Contact a Chicago, Illinois sexual harassment lawyer if you have been fired after reporting sexual harassment. Call the dedicated professionals at Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC at 630-665-7300 today.