Can My Employer Punish Me For Complaining About Sexual Harassment?
It is illegal for a company to punish someone for reporting harassment. What typically happens when a victim reports sexual harassment? It depends on the company. The company may follow the law and properly investigate, take corrective action, and be thankful that the victim came forward to expose a harasser so that the company could clean up the problem. Most of the time, however, companies take these complaints and they look at them as a hassle. It is a big deal and now they have to dedicate resources to doing an investigation and taking corrective action.
Most companies don’t even know how to do a proper sexual harassment investigation. Many companies, even when they do a decent investigation, don’t understand their obligation to take appropriate corrective action, which may mean terminating an employee who is very valuable to the company. There are all sorts of problems that can take place when a victim comes forward but is absolutely illegal for the employer to punish a victim for coming forward, period.
Under the law, a punishment from a company is called an adverse employment action and it can range from a denial of promotion all the way up to termination. If a company engages in any adverse job action after someone comes forward to report sexual harassment, the company is violating the law and can be sued for retaliation.
What Do I Need To Do To File A Legal Complaint Of Sexual Harassment? What Can I Expect?
My first suggestion, before anyone decides to file a legal complaint, is to get some legal advice to see if you have a lawsuit. Do some research and get a good lawyer with a long track record of actually trying these cases to a jury. Meet with the lawyer and ask him or her to tell you about their past successes. Ask the lawyer to walk you through what’s going to happen in your case. If you feel, at any pint, that the lawyer is not being honest with you, get up, walk out, and go get another lawyer.