Retaliation for a Complaint of Sexual Harassment

Los Angeles Lawyers Protecting Your Rights in the Workplace

Employees in California are protected against discrimination and harassment on the basis of protected characteristics. Among other things, they are entitled to a workplace that is free of sexual harassment. Many workers are rightly concerned about being punished by their employer if they report sexual harassment to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or file a complaint under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). What workers may not realize is that the laws that protect them from sexual harassment also include provisions to protect workers from retaliation for a complaint of sexual harassment. The Los Angeles retaliation lawyers at The Nourmand Law Firm may be able to represent you not only in a lawsuit for sexual harassment but also in a claim based on employer retaliation.

Retaliation for a Complaint of Sexual Harassment

If your employer punishes you or otherwise treats you adversely because you filed a charge or complaint of sexual harassment or engaged in other protected activity related to sexual harassment, you have been subject to unlawful retaliation. Under both federal and California laws, it is illegal for your employer to take any adverse action against you for filing your own complaint of sexual harassment or even participating in workplace investigations related to the sexual harassment of someone else. Adverse treatment may include firings, demotions, verbal abuse, increases in workload, job reassignment, or excluding a worker from mentoring opportunities within a company.

What is critical is proving a causal connection between your sexual harassment complaint and the employer's adverse and retaliatory actions. There are cases in which retaliation is obvious. For example, if you file a harassment complaint and are immediately terminated, the connection is likely to be clear to a jury. However, there are also situations that are less clear.

Any of the following situations may constitute retaliation: unfair disciplinary actions, negative performance reviews, denial of promotions, micromanagement, spreading false rumors, exclusion from project meetings, and denial of ongoing training. A situation is particularly likely to be viewed as retaliatory if it happens close in time to when you filed your complaint. Your employer may not respond to a sexual harassment complaint in any way that would discourage others from complaining about future harassment or discrimination.

Engaging in protected activities does not serve as a shield from all discipline or discharge. Employers may discipline or terminate a worker if they are motivated by a non-retaliatory and non-discriminatory reason that would also result in a particular consequence, even if there was no claim of sexual harassment.

You may recover damages for retaliation even if the court determines that you were wrong about the sexual harassment, as long as you filed the complaint in good faith. Damages that you may recover include lost pay, lost benefits, and emotional distress. When an employer engages in particularly willful and wrongful conduct in retaliation for a complaint of sexual harassment, you may also be able to recover punitive damages.

Seek Representation from a Los Angeles Attorney

Sexual harassment is humiliating, and your employer should take it seriously. You should not be subject to negative consequences for complaining about sexual harassment, even if it turns out that you are unable to prove your claim. If you have suffered harm in a Los Angeles workplace due to retaliation for a complaint of sexual harassment, the knowledgeable sexual harassment lawyers at The Nourmand Law Firm may be able to help you seek damages. We offer aggressive legal representation to workers in San Diego, San Bernardino, Riverside, Palm Springs, Newport Beach, Santa Ana, Van Nuys, Beverly Hills, and other areas of Los Angeles, Riverside, Orange, San Diego, and San Bernardino Counties. Call us at 800-700-WAGE (9243) or contact us through our online form to set up a free consultation.

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