What Retaliation for Reporting Sexual Harassment Looks Like
And What to Do If It Happens to You
One of your co-workers makes inappropriate comments about your appearance at work. The comments are frequent enough to create a hostile work environment. So you follow the policy your employer has laid out, and report that person to Human Resources.
The next week, you’re out of a job.
This is a very clear example of retaliation—and it’s all too common. According to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, of all the federal-sector allegations of workplace discrimination, retaliation was the most common allegation—and the most frequent finding. Employers do this kind of thing all the time.
Sometimes, as in the example above, retaliation is obvious. But sometimes it’s more subtle. Here are a few scenarios that may be retaliation, if you experience them after reporting sexual harassment.
Your schedule suddenly changes
Workers facing retaliation may find their schedules rearranged so they have to work on a requested day off, or their work schedule now conflicts with something important—such as classes or picking up a child from school.
You’re being demoted
If you find yourself demoted to a lower-ranking position, moved to a worse shift, or given different or less desirable duties after reporting harassment, this may also be retaliation.
You’re being nitpicked to death
Is your formerly sympathetic boss suddenly watching you like a hawk, alert to even the slightest mistake? They may be looking for a reason to write you up. This could also be retaliation.
Bonus points if your employer had no complaints about your performance before you filed the sexual harassment report.
You’re being shut out from meetings and events
Are you not being told about meetings, client meet-and-greets, training opportunities, and other events?
If you have the distinct feeling you’re being excluded from scheduled events that are crucial to your job, it may be a sign of retaliation.
Your paycheck takes a hit
Some employers have gone so far as to reduce an employee’s salary after they filed a discrimination claim.
However, your salary may not be reduced outright—you may just be denied a raise or promotion you’d been led to expect, or have your hours reduced.
You get a bad performance review
Did you get hit hard in your last performance review—and did the negative comments seem to come out of the blue? If so, you may be facing retaliation.
Talk to an experienced employment attorney
Do you suspect you’re facing retaliation at work for filing a sexual harassment report? An experienced Philadelphia employment lawyer can help.
A knowledgeable employment attorney can help you determine what’s going on, identify your options, and defend your rights in court.
The information provided here does not constitute legal advice. It is intended for general purposes only. If you have questions about a specific legal issue, you should speak to an attorney.