Sexual Harassment Retaliation - Defined
Victims of sexual harassment and discrimination sometimes face retaliation. Retaliation is defined under the law as any employment action that would discourage an average employee from complaining about discrimination or sexual harassment. As such, victims of sexual harassment may prove retaliation if an employer takes any action that can be seen as able to discourage people from complaining.
Sexual Harassment Retaliation - Forms and Examples
Sexual harassment retaliation takes various forms. Different employment actions also constitute retaliation. In fact, any action by an employer that can discourage future complaints may qualify as a retaliatory act when done in response to a complaint of sexual harassment. Generally, the following employment actions following shortly after a complaint or resistance of sexual harassment may signal evidence of retaliation: termination, demotion, unfavorable transfer, pay cut, removal from the schedule, reduction of hours, suspensions, write-ups or reprimands, management hostility, harder worker, menial tasks, changed schedule designed to oppress, reduced schedule, isolation, denial of needed help, ostracism, bad review or evaluation, unexplained or unsupported customer or co-worker complaints, accusations of poor work performance, sudden increase in workload, denial of breaks, vacations or benefits.
Sexual Harassment Retaliation - Prevention
Frequently, an employer’s exposure to liability, damages and punitive damages is greater as a result of retaliation that follows sexual harassment than the sexually harassing conduct. In fact, an employee who may not have a sexual harassment case may have a significant damages case based in the retaliation that followed the complaint about harassment. It is thus important that employers have a clear and enforced anti-harassment policy to ensure that employees and managers refrain from retaliation. Employees who are retaliated against may be able to sue based on sexual harassment retaliation even though they may not be able to sue for sexual harassment.
Sexual Harassment Retaliation - Damages
Victims of sexual harassment retaliation may recover different kinds of damages. Victims of sexual harassment retaliation may recover the following damages: mental anguish; emotional distress; back pay for termination, suspension or demotions; punitive damages in federal court as well as front-pay damages. Damages may be recovered by victims of retaliation even if no damages are awarded for sexual harassment, even when the sexual harassment case is dismissed.