As you may know, sexual harassment allegations and lawsuits have rocked the high-tech industry recently. The allegations typically involve a female employee who says she was harassed by a male boss or male colleague.
A new case involving a high-tech finance company changes the narrative.
In a lawsuit filed against a company called Social Finance (known as SoFi), a man who stood up for his female colleagues says he was fired because he reported sexual harassment that he witnessed. The lawsuit was filed in California state court.
SoFi says it investigated the man’s claims and found they had no basis in fact.
The man alleges in the lawsuit that a manager used “explicit sexual innuendo and statements” in normal workplace communications, according to the New York Times. The suit also says the manager used “lewd, sexualized gestures” when referring to one female employee.
The lawsuit goes on to say the man who reported the behavior sent emails to three supervisors to inform them of the harassment. The suit says the managers fired the man because his complaints were “devoid of merit” and because reporting the behavior was outside his “appropriate duties.”
Retaliation is against the law
Federal law forbids retaliation against employees who report discrimination, including sexual harassment.
The federal government’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says on its website: “Participating in a complaint process is protected from retaliation under all circumstances.” Attempts to oppose discrimination are protected “as long as the employee was acting on a reasonable belief that something in the workplace may violate EEO laws, even if he or she did not use legal terminology to describe it.”
Of course, it is also against the law to harass employees or applicants because of the person’s sex, the EEOC says. Harassment can include sexual advances, requests for sex, and verbal or physical harassment that is sexual.
Retaliation cases in Missouri
In Missouri, retaliation charges are on the rise, according to EEOC statistics. Here are the number of retaliation cases in Missouri in recent years:
The 2016 total represents 54 percent of all discrimination charges filed in Missouri.