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How to protect yourself from workplace retaliation

According to Edison Research, one in five employees have been the target of sexual harassment in the workplace. Employees today are encouraged to report this behavior in the workplace, but not everyone does. People often fear that the repercussions of reporting the harassment could have a negative impact on their career.

After you have filed a complaint against your employer for sexual harassment, you may be concerned about retaliation. If your employer attempts to punish you in any way, after you filed a complaint, it is considered retaliation. 75% of employees who reported workplace mistreatment faced retaliation.

You should be aware of the signs of retaliation and understand your rights if it happens.

Retaliation includes

  • Being fired
  • Getting demoted
  • Changed hours or schedule
  • Receiving a negative evaluation
  • Reduced pay
  • Being denied a promotion
  • Further harassment
  • Making work more difficult

It is illegal for your employer to retaliate against you for filing a sexual harassment claim.

What to do if you are being retaliated against

If you are retaliated against, you can keep a record of the retaliation and report it to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. You can talk to others who may have experienced similar retaliation. In addition, you may want to file a lawsuit against your employer.

The most common charge filed against employers is retaliation. Retaliation claims account for 50% of all workplace charges in California. Your employer should have clearly defined policies outlining the steps they will take to prevent sexual harassment and the procedure they follow in case of harassment. Your employer should know how to handle the situation so that you are accommodated without retaliation.

As an employee, you can take legal action against your employer if they retaliated against you. The law is on your side. In recent cases, employers were required to pay large sums of money to employees that had been fired or demoted after they had filed a sexual harassment claim. Upon receiving a DFEH “right to sue” notice, you can file a lawsuit against your employer for workplace retaliation with support from the DFEH.

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