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Reporting sexual harassment – should I be worried about retaliation?

On Behalf of | May 17, 2023 | Sexual Harassment |

Sexual harassment can make any employee’s work environment hostile. Employees need to report sexual harassment whenever possible, whether they’re victims or witnesses. Reporting allows a company to take immediate corrective action and ensure the workplace is safe.

But it can be intimidating to report sexual harassment. This is especially true if the harasser is in a position of authority within the company. How can you report harassment if your job could be on the line?

Forms of retaliation

Your employer or direct superior could terminate your employment to get back at your sexual harassment claims. But there are other indirect ways your employer could strike back. Some are more subtle than termination and won’t be immediately obvious without context. They include:

  • Demotions
  • Receiving poor performance evaluations
  • Transferred to another department or work location
  • Increased workload
  • Salary reductions
  • The threat of legal action
  • Physical harm

It’s essential for individuals looking to report sexual harassment to recognize these retaliatory actions to protect themselves.

Laws against retaliation

Fortunately, state laws prohibit your employer from retaliating or discriminating because you opposed an unlawful practice, such as sexual harassment. These laws also protect individuals who have a good faith belief that what their employer is doing is illegal. They will protect you even if court procedures later prove your accusations are false.

Sexual harassment infringes on the rights of employees. Even if your direct superior is harassing you, you have every right to report the injustice without fear of retaliation. While your employer could take legal action against your claim, you could also file a lawsuit of your own. Consider hiring an attorney experienced in employment law who could defend you in court and ensure your rights as an employee are properly represented.