I Complained of Sexual Harassment and Got Fired. What Should I do?

Laws at all levels of government make sexual harassment in the workplace illegal. Not only do employees have the right to work in an environment free from sexual harassment, but they also have the right to report sexual harassment in the workplace without fear of retaliation. The New York sexual harassment lawyers of Phillips & Associates have years of experience helping New Yorkers who have been wrongfully terminated from their jobs. Contact Phillips & Associates if you reported your employer for sexual harassment and were subsequently fired.

Reporting Sexual Harassment is Your Right

Sexual harassment is illegal. If you have been sexually harassed, contact an experienced attorney. He or she will advise you regarding how to handle the situation, particularly if you have reported the harassment to your employer and your employer has not been responsive, or if the harassment is especially egregious. Generally, you should first report any sexual harassment to the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) before you can take further action, such as filing a lawsuit in federal court.

The same laws that prohibit workplace sexual harassment also prohibit the practice of retaliation. Plainly speaking, retaliation occurs when an employer punishes an employee who has done something that is allowed under the law. For example, if your employer fires you for filing an EEOC complaint regarding sexual harassment, that is retaliation. Retaliation can take many forms, including termination, lowering of pay, or other adverse actions that affect employment.

Federal, State, and Local Laws Protect You

The three major laws that protect New Yorkers from sexual harassment also protect them from wrongful termination and other types of retaliation. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits sexual harassment, which is technically a form of gender discrimination. Under the Civil Rights Act, a plaintiff must prove:

  1. The employee (plaintiff) was engaged in a protected activity;
  2. The employer took an adverse action against the employee; and
  3. There was a causal connection between the two events.

One example of a causal connection is an employee being fired for filing an EEOC sexual harassment complaint.

The New York State and New York City Human Rights Laws are the two other major laws that protect employees in New York from sexual harassment and retaliation. Both of these laws contain provisions that are similar to the Civil Rights Act, with one major exception that benefits of workers: the state and local laws define more broadly the types of actions employers may not take against employees. The result is that employees are afforded greater protection from retaliation under state and local law.

Maintain a Record of Your Termination

If you have been fired for filing an EEOC complaint, write down the time, place, and details of any of your employer’s actions regarding your termination. Because you will eventually have to prove the causal connection between your complaint and your termination, it is important to have a record of the events that led your employer to fire you.

Seek Advice from Experienced Lawyers

Subjecting an employee to sexual harassment and then firing that employee for attempting to protect his rights is not only immoral, but it is illegal. If you find yourself in this situation, contact an experienced New York wrongful termination attorney. The attorneys at Phillips & Associates have extensive knowledge of employment law standards, and will vigorously protect your rights. Call (212) 248-7431 or complete our online contact form to schedule your free and confidential consultation.