Victims of sexual harassment in the workplace are not always able to receive justice, let alone speak up about it. Those who muster the courage to report these wrongdoings in the workplace should receive support. Yet, most end up facing a new nightmare: retaliation.
Employers retaliate in many ways, from wrongful termination and isolation to job transfers. These actions can cause survivors professional and reputational damage, preventing other victims from speaking out.
Retaliation often awaits those who report sexual harassment
Various reports show that a majority of those who speak out against harassment experience some form of retaliation. However, it is illegal for employers to take any adverse action against or punish employees who resist sexual advances or file a sexual harassment complaint.
Giving an unjust low performance evaluation, denying promotions, spreading false rumors or intentionally making the employee’s work more difficult are just some ways employers punish workers. Retaliation can also be less obvious, such as withholding essential information, valuable feedback and company resources that can hurt the person’s performance.
There are a few ways those experiencing retaliation after reporting sexual harassment can respond. Employees can first check with HR if they have anti-retaliation policies. If employers refuse to cooperate, workers can report their case to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or initiate a lawsuit.
Find strength in support
No one should endure retaliation for standing up against sexual harassment. However, the path to obtaining justice is challenging, even more so when alone. An attorney specializing in employment law can provide guidance and support, empowering individuals to assert their rights and pursue a just resolution. Help is within reach.