Can My Employer Demote Me Because I Reported Sexual Harassment?
It is unlawful for employers to harass their employees sexually, and those employees who report sexual harassment in the workplace are protected against retaliation from their employer. If you have reported sexual harassment in the workplace and were demoted because of it, you have the right to file a lawsuit for wrongful retaliation. The California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group is here to make sure that your employer suffer the consequences of violating your rights and demoting you because you reported sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment is against the law. There are both federal and state laws which protect employees from being subjected to sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is a form of sexual discrimination and violates the federal laws put in place to protect employees – traditionally women as they were against and harassed for decades until women fought for their rights and forced Congress to take action against this kind of discrimination.
The California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group is here to ensure that you get the maximum amount of damages available to you for reporting sexual harassment. We help people like you every day who report this unlawful behavior and get wrongfully disciplined by their employer. We help answer questions they have regarding any future steps available to them. Examples of such questions include:
- Can my employer demote me because I reported sexual harassment?
- Can my boss cut my hours because I filed a sexual harassment lawsuit? Can I sue the company if they do that?
- I reported harassment and hostile work environment to my supervisor. Now they lowered my salary. Can they legally do that? Can I sue them?
- Can I sue my employer if he reduced my pay because I filed a harassment lawsuit?
- Can I file a discrimination lawsuit against my employer if he did not give me my bonuses in retaliation for a sexual harassment lawsuit?
- Can I file a lawsuit against my employer if he forced to go on furlough because I complained about harassment in the workplace?
What Is Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment is a kind of sexual discrimination which unlawful under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The agency which enforces types of discrimination in the workplace is called the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), so they make sure that employers follow the law and launch investigations if one of their employees makes a claim against them. Sexual harassment is defined as “unwelcome sexual advance, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal/physical conduct of a sexual nature.” When the conduct of a sexual nature has the effect of interfering with someone’s work performance, or creates an unwelcoming, intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment, it is considered sexual discrimination.
The term “unwelcome” plays a critical role in determining if sexual harassment occurred. Unwelcome means unwanted, and so sexual conduct is considered unwelcomed if the person receiving the acts considers those acts to be unwanted.
The law protects both men and women as both can be a victim of sexual harassment. The harasser can be a woman or a man, and they can also be of the same sex: a man can harass another man, and a woman can harass another woman. For example, a male coworker may call another male coworker offensive homophobic slurs.
What Law Protect Employee Against Sexual Harassment?
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protects employees from discrimination of any kind, including sex discrimination. As stated earlier, sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination. Title VII makes it unlawful for employers to discriminate against people’s sex throughout all facets of employment including the interview process, hiring, firing, salary, demoting/promoting, and other terms and conditions of employment. Because the courts have deemed harassment a form of discrimination, employers cannot discipline employees in any way which affects their employment status. For example, an employer cannot demote an employee just because the employee reported sexual harassment.
Can an Employer Retaliate Against Employees for Reporting Sexual Harassment?
Employers cannot retaliate against employees for participating in protected legal activity. Protected legal activity are those actions which an employee can take part in without suffering any job-related consequences. Retaliation in the workplace occurs when an employer punishes an employee for engaging in protected activity. Retaliation can involve many forms of punishment including firing, salary reduction, job shift, or even demotion.
Such protected action involved reporting sexual harassment, and other kinds of discrimination in the workplace whether it be to Human Resources (HR) or an employment agency like the EEOC. In addition, the employer is not allowed to retaliate against any employee who is becomes involved in the sexual harassment report. For example, let’s say you witnessed that an employer sexually harassed another employee and then reported that harassment. Upon learning that it was you who reported the harassment, he demotes you. This is unlawful as you exercised your right and participated in a protected activity.
How Do I Prove I Was Wrongfully Demoted for Reporting Sexual Harassment?
In order to prove sexual harassment in the workplace, you must either prove it with direct or circumstantial evidence. Direct evidence is the easiest method, but the hardest to come by because many employers are aware of the anti-retaliation laws that exist. Direct evidence would involve your employer directly stating that he is demoting you because you filed a sexual harassment charge. Most employers do not directly state their retaliation. In that case, you must rely on circumstantial evidence to prove your wrongful demotion.
Circumstantial evidence must show to the courts that it was more likely than not that your employer took action against you because you reported sexual harassment. In order to prove that circumstantial evidence you meet the following three conditions:
- That you engaged in protected activity. In this case, that you filed a report against your employer for sexual harassment;
- That your employer took action against you. For instance, that you were indeed demoted;
- That there is a link between your unlawful discipline and the activity in which you participated. For example, if your employer demotes you the day after you file the sexual harassment report, courts will not have a hard time connecting point A to point B.
The California Law Employment Attorneys Group is here to ensure that you get the maximum compensation available to you. If you believe that you were demoted because you reported sexual harassment in the workplace, you have a right to file a lawsuit against your employer. We offer free consultation and the zero-fee guarantee, so you have no financial obligation or financial risk! Contact us today to see what we can do for you.
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