Reporting workplace harassment can be intimidating. Understandably, many employees fear the potential consequences of reporting harassment, including the possibility of getting fired.
The Law Protects Employees Who Report Workplace Harassment
However, employees are protected under the Equal Employment Opportunity laws. Reporting a hostile work environment, which includes offensive touching, verbal threats, and more, is considered protected activity. Therefore, reporting workplace harassment to a supervisor or Human Resources is protected activity.
Under these laws, it is illegal for an employer to retaliate against employees or job applicants for reporting workplace harassment. Retaliation occurs when an employer takes an adverse employment action against an employee for engaging in protected activity, such as reporting harassment. Firing an employee for reporting workplace harassment is considered retaliation and would thus be unlawful.
Employers should be aware that it is illegal to fire an employee for engaging in protected conduct by reporting workplace harassment. If an employer does retaliate by firing an employee, they open themselves up to legal action.
The Risks of Waiting Too Long to Report Harassment
Additionally, while it is understandable that an employee may hesitate to report workplace harassment, there are risks in waiting too long to report harassment. There are strict deadlines for filing harassment claims. Furthermore, if the harassment continues, it may affect an employee’s work performance. That employee may then be fired for poor work performance.
In conclusion, although reporting workplace harassment is difficult, it is protected by the law, and an employer cannot retaliate by firing an employee for reporting harassment.
Need The Help Of An Experienced Employment Law Attorney?
Sexual harassment is a serious issue in the workplace and if you are considering filing with the FEHA and EEOC, our attorneys are here to help you in every step of the way. If you believe you are facing a hostile work environment caused by sexual harassment by a boss who may have an unwanted relationship with you, please contact our dedicated and experienced discrimination attorneys at Makarem & Associates at 310.312.0299 or email us at [email protected].