Retaliation After a Complaint of Sexual Harassment in Nassau County
In 2016, the United States Census determined that females made up 51.4% of the population in Nassau County. That year, the total population was 1,361,500. As of 2015, there were about 48,000 employer establishments there. For most people, it is extremely difficult to come forward and accuse a coworker or supervisor of sexual harassment in the workplace. Many victims of this type of harassment experience insomnia, emotional distress, and humiliation. Telling an authority figure is frightening. Unfortunately, the fear is legitimate. Sometimes employers try to punish employees for coming forward. However, retaliation after a complaint of sexual harassment is illegal and actionable. At Phillips & Associates, our Nassau County retaliation lawyers may be able to represent you in a lawsuit for damages.Retaliation After a Complaint of Sexual Harassment
Retaliation after a complaint of sexual harassment is actionable under both federal and state laws. Retaliation includes any adverse action taken in response to your engaging in a protected activity, such as filing a complaint of sexual harassment with HR or the EEOC or in court.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is the primary federal law prohibiting sexual harassment, as well as retaliation based on filing a complaint. Sexual harassment falls into the categories of quid pro quo or hostile work environment harassment.
What matters is that you have a good-faith belief that you have been sexually harassed or that someone else has been sexually harassed when you file a complaint of sexual harassment. Your employer should not penalize you for coming forward, even if you may be unsure of how to phrase your complaints about the type of conduct that you are experiencing. Furthermore, the court may disagree about whether what you experienced was actually sexual harassment under the law. However, as long as you are acting in good faith, you are entitled to lodge a complaint about the conduct or conditions that are allegedly harassing.
For example, the EEOC has offered guidance that if you complained to your supervisor about graffiti in the bathrooms that is derogatory toward women, you would be protected against retaliation even if you did not state that it created a hostile work environment based on sex. The graffiti does not need to be severe or pervasive, as it would in a hostile work environment claim, in order for your complaint to be protected activity. If your employer retaliates against you by moving you to a less prestigious department, reducing your pay, firing you, or taking some other adverse action against you because you complained, you may be able to recover damages for retaliation, even if you cannot recover for hostile work environment harassment.
Sometimes coworkers are reluctant to speak out on each other's behalf. Everyone may be looking out for their own jobs, rather than joining together in solidarity. However, coworkers who do provide corroborating information in connection with another worker's complaint of sexual harassment are also engaging in protected activity. They are protected against retaliation and may have claims of their own. Similarly, if a coworker intervenes to help you while you are being sexually harassed, and as a result you are both fired, you both have claims of retaliation, even though you were the one who was being sexually harassed.State Law
Retaliation is also prohibited under the New York State Human Rights Law. Workplace sexual harassment is prohibited even if an employer has just one employee under state law. To establish retaliation under the New York State Human Rights Law, your lawyer would need to prove that you engaged in a protected activity, your employer was aware of your participation in such an activity, you suffered an adverse employment action due to your participation, and there was a causal relationship between the protected activity and the adverse action taken by the employer. You need not show that the retaliation or discrimination resulted in an ultimate action, such as termination, or a materially adverse change in the terms and conditions of employment, as long as the retaliatory act was reasonably likely to deter someone from engaging in a protected activity.Get Advice from a Sexual Harassment Attorney in Nassau County
At Phillips & Associates, our experienced employment litigators can evaluate your situation if you faced retaliation after a complaint of sexual harassment in Nassau County. Call us at (516) 365-3731 or use our online form to set up a free consultation. We handle cases on a contingency basis, so we charge no upfront fees to clients.
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