Can I be fired for reporting sexual harassment?

Filing a report citing sexual harassment in the workplace can be very uncomfortable and even frightening. You might feel like you will get laughed at or challenged; you might feel intimidated and discouraged. You might also feel like you could lose your job for filing a complaint.

However, in accordance with federal laws, it is illegal to fire someone for reporting sexual harassment or engaging in any other protected activity. In fact, retaliation in all forms is prohibited.

What retaliation looks like

Firing someone for filing a sexual harassment claim is retaliatory. However, it is not the only example of retaliation. Other examples include:

  • Taking work or projects away 
  • Demotions
  • Reassigning the person to a new team or location
  • Creating a hostile work environment
  • Pay reductions
  • Isolating the person from meetings or other work-related activities
  • Giving the person poor reviews without justification
  • Setting the person up to fail

What you can do about retaliation

If you feel like you are the victim of retaliation after reporting sexual harassment, then you need to know that you have rights. Protecting these rights can involve taking legal action against the party who engaged in retaliatory behavior. 

By filing a legal claim, you can request job reinstatement if you wish. You can also pursue financial compensation for the damages you have suffered. This can include lost wages, pain and suffering, as well as any professional consequences of the retaliatory action.

Keep in mind, though, that retaliation can be difficult to identify, and not all adverse actions are retaliatory. In order to better understand your legal options and rights as an employee in New York, you can discuss your situation with an experienced employment law attorney.

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