Harassment |
March 15, 2022

Can I Face Retaliation for Reporting Harassment at Work?

When most people think of harassment in the workplace, they think of sexual harassment, but sexual harassment is just one of many forms of harassment that are unlawful in employment. It is also unlawful to discriminate against an employee based on their: 

  • Race or color
  • National origin or ancestry
  • Disability
  • Age (if they are 40 and older)
  • Gender (including Pregnancy and breastfeeding, gender identity or expression, and sexual orientation)
  • Religion

If you suspect that your employer is treating you differently for any of these reasons, it is important to get advice from your own employment lawyer as soon as possible. Our lawyers can help you enforce your right to be free from both unlawful discrimination in the workplace and retaliation for reporting such harassment. 

What is retaliation?

Retaliation is any adverse employment decision made as a result of your decision to report unlawful harassment. In the most blatant cases, an employee might be terminated for making a report, but retaliation is rarely this obvious. Instead, the employee may suffer much more subtle setbacks in the workplace. Here are some common examples: 

  • Being demoted
  • Having a pay cut (or being denied a pay raise)
  • Being denied overtime pay opportunities that are available to other employees
  • Having your hours cut
  • Getting assigned to undesirable shifts or duties
  • Being denied opportunities for advancement
  • Being subjected to unfair discipline (or more harsh discipline than other employees)

These examples are only a few of many. There are countless ways that an employee might face adverse consequences in the workplace after reporting unlawful harassment. If you have experienced any changes for the worse in your working conditions after making a report, be sure to consult with one of our labor lawyers as soon as possible. 

How can I get legal protection for my report of unlawful conduct in the workplace?

Though the law does protect employees from being retaliated against for reporting unlawful harassment, it is not always easy to enforce this right. The employer must be notified of the harassment and given an opportunity to correct it. Often, an HR or legal department will try to minimize the conduct or assure the employee that the issue “will be handled” without taking tangible steps to correct the problem. 

The company must be notified that you have been the victim of unlawful harassment and that you are enforcing your right under state or federal law. If you face retaliation for making a report, the company must be notified of the activity and how it violates your employment rights. Sadly, not all companies respect the rights of employees who make these reports. Some companies will only respond to the threat of legal action made by an employment lawyer.  

Experienced, Aggressive San Francisco Employment Lawyers To Stop Retaliation

The experienced San Francisco employment attorneys at Minnis and Smallets work hard to protect all California employees’ rights to be free from harassment and retaliation in the workplace. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with an experienced Bay Area employment law attorney.