Sexual Harassment Victims and Retaliation: What You Should Know
Employees have the right to be free from sexual advances and offensive behavior at work. Although multiple federal and state laws prohibit sexual harassment, workplace harassment and discrimination continue to be problems in Illinois and throughout the U.S.
Unfortunately, many victims of workplace sexual harassment never report the harassment. They fear that nothing will be done to stop the harassing behavior, or worse, that they will face retaliation for reporting the harassment. If you are in this situation, you should know that retaliation is unlawful. Your employer may not “punish” you for filing a sexual harassment or discrimination complaint. If they do, you may be entitled to legal remedies including monetary damages.
What Does Employer Retaliation Look Like?
When an employee is sexually harassed at work, he or she should report the sexual harassment according to the company’s sexual harassment policy. Often, this means reporting the harassment to the human resources department. The employer is required by law to address the harassment properly and prevent further harassment. Unfortunately, some employers take the opposite approach and retaliate against the person who reported the harassment.
Employer retaliation can take many forms, including:
- Reducing the employee’s hours or pay rate
- Demoting the employee to a lower position
- Giving the employee undesirable work duties or work schedule
- Excluding the employee from trainings or other opportunities for advancement
- Denying the employee a justified raise or promotion
- Giving the employee an undeserved poor performance evaluation
- Firing the employee or forcing him or her to quit
- Abusing the employee verbally or physically
- Threatening the employee
Legal Options if You Were Retaliated Against
According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, employers may not punish workers for reporting sexual harassment. Individuals acting as witnesses in an EEOC investigation are also protected from retaliation. If you were retaliated against after participating in a sexual harassment complaint, investigation, or lawsuit, contact a sexual harassment lawyer for help right away. Your attorney can help you understand your rights and options. You may be entitled to legal remedies including financial compensation.
Contact a DuPage County Sexual Harassment Lawyer
It is illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee for reporting sexual harassment or participating in a sexual harassment investigation. If you faced retaliation after reporting sexual harassment, contact the Wheaton sexual harassment attorneys at MKFM Law for help. Our skilled legal professionals can help you decide what to do next and ensure that your rights are protected. Call our office today at 630-665-7300 for a confidential consultation.