Can I Be Fired for Reporting Sexual Harassment?

The workplace should be a safe environment where all workers are treated with dignity and respect. Unfortunately, sexual harassment can occur, turning the workplace into a hostile environment. If you are a worker in New Jersey who has been terminated for reporting sexual harassment, it is crucial to understand your rights.

Sexual harassment in the workplace refers to any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that interferes with an individual’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment. This could range from inappropriate comments or jokes to unwanted touching or sexual assault.

In New Jersey, laws such as the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) protect workers from sexual harassment. According to NJLAD, employers cannot retaliate against employees who report sexual harassment. Retaliation includes any adverse action against an employee because they reported harassment or participated in an investigation, such as termination, demotion, or mistreatment.

It is illegal for employers to fire an employee for reporting sexual harassment. If you have been terminated for this reason, it constitutes retaliation, which is unlawful under federal laws like Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and state laws like NJLAD.

Unlawful retaliation can be subtle or overt. It can include termination and actions like changing your job duties, lowering your pay, giving you negative evaluations, or creating a hostile work environment. These actions are illegal if they are done because you reported sexual harassment.

What to Do if You Are a Victim of Unlawful Retaliation?

Being a victim of unlawful retaliation can be disorienting and stressful. However, knowing the proper steps can help you navigate this situation effectively.

  • Document everything: Keep a detailed record of all incidents related to your harassment claim and any subsequent retaliation. This includes emails, text messages, meeting notes, performance reviews, and other relevant documents. Also, keep a log of conversations and incidents, noting the date, time, location, people involved, and what occurred.
  • Consult with an attorney: It is crucial to seek legal guidance immediately. An experienced employment law attorney can help you understand your rights, evaluate your case, and provide advice on the best course of action. They can also guide you through filing a complaint with the appropriate agencies.
  • File a complaint: You can file a retaliation complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights. These agencies will investigate your claim. Depending on their findings, they may take action against your employer or issue a “right to sue” letter, which allows you to proceed with a lawsuit.
  • Seek support: Dealing with retaliation can take a toll on your mental health. Seek help from trusted friends, family, or professional counselors. Support groups and resources are available for individuals who have experienced workplace harassment and retaliation.
  • Consider a lawsuit: If your employer has unlawfully retaliated against you, you may have grounds for a lawsuit. Your attorney can guide you through this process. Damages you may be able to recover include lost wages, emotional distress damages, punitive damages, and attorney’s fees.

South Jersey Sexual Harassment Lawyers at The Law Offices of Leo B. Dubler, III, LLC Help You Understand Your Rights

No worker should ever fear retaliation for reporting sexual harassment. Understanding your rights and taking proactive steps can ensure your legal protection. Speak with our South Jersey sexual harassment lawyers at The Law Offices of Leo B. Dubler, III, LLC today. Call us at 856-235-7075 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation. Located in Mount Laurel and Atlantic City, New Jersey, we serve clients in South Jersey, including Cherry Hill, Burlington County, and Camden County.