The issue of sexual harassment is far too prevalent in workplaces today. Co-workers or managers may make uncomfortable comments, display inappropriate images in their office or engage in unwanted touching or advances toward you. If you are in a situation like this, you may be afraid to report it for fear of losing your job. Can your employer fire you for reporting harassment?
The answer is yes and no. Legally, they fire you. In a literal sense, though, yes, they could choose to fire you. However, because this retaliation is illegal, you could bring a lawsuit against them if they do this.
So, should you report the behavior or not?
The decision is yours to make. Only you know what you are feeling and what you are comfortable doing to handle bad situations. The important thing is to know that you are legally protected. Harassment is illegal. Retaliation for reporting it is illegal. An attorney can protect you and fight for you if your employer reacts negatively.
Report it in writing
Before you can pursue a claim, you need to give your employer a chance to correct the behavior. Give a written report of what happened so that a physical record exists. From there, your employer should take action to prevent further harassment.
If the harassment continues, tell your employer about it and consider consulting an attorney about your situation. If your employer has done nothing about the situation or even retaliated against you, you should take a lawsuit into serious consideration. No one should have to endure termination or unwanted behavior just for wanting to do their job in a safe environment.
Why pursue a lawsuit?
There are a couple reasons to take legal action. It holds your employer accountable for what they have done (or failed to do). If no one takes action against them, they have no reason to change their ways. A lawsuit could deter them from treating other people this way in the future if other harassment reports come up.
You can also receive compensation for what you endured. Your employer may have to pay you for lost wages, promotions or raises you should have gotten, your emotional suffering and even fines as punishment for not ending the harassment.
You may feel scared and overwhelmed by what could happen, but an experienced attorney can work for the justice you deserve if your employer mishandles your situation.