Fear of retaliation remains a big reason why many sexual harassment victims do not come forward with their complaints to supervisors, managers and human resources departments. They fear that they will be fired. They fear punishment such as being given less-than-desirable work shifts, being assigned fewer work hours, or even demotion. They fear being ostracized.
Such retaliation is simply a despicable way for revenge. It is also illegal. The laws enforced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission clearly state that it’s illegal to harass, fire and demote an employee who has filed a complaint based on sexual harassment or discrimination.
Legal, ethical obligation
It’s clear that an employer has a legal and ethical obligation to protect employees. If you file a sexual harassment complaint in the workplace, your employer must pledge that you are safe from retaliation as an investigation ensues.
Still, retaliation can occur. It can happen in subtle ways, too. Remember, if additional retaliation takes place, you should immediately inform your employer of any ongoing harassment. Not only should you document all incidents of sexual harassment, but your employer must, too, once they learn about it from you.
t’s employer’s responsibility to investigate any alleged sexual harassment incidents and enforce the rules, which can include firing the harasser. However, employers won’t be able to do this if you do not come forward with your concerns about a hostile and toxic workplace involving a sexual predator.
Don’t forget that you also may contact law enforcement in workplace sexual harassment cases. Remember, that you have the power to turn the tables on a sexual harasser and workplace bully.