Reporting workplace sexual assaults and harassment can be professionally and emotionally difficult. When you file a complaint about this type of conduct in New York, your employer is forbidden from taking retaliatory action against you for making a report. Despite the prohibition against retaliation, some employers retaliate because they believe that they can get away with it or simply do not understand the law. If your employer retaliated against you for filing a complaint about sexual assault at your job, the experienced employment lawyers at Leeds Brown Law P.C. can advocate for you to recover damages for the losses that you have suffered because of your employer’s unlawful retaliation.
What is retaliation?
Retaliation is any adverse action that an employer takes against an employee because of the employee’s engaging in a protected activity. Retaliation can include demotions, firing, denying bonuses, harassing, disciplining, and other similar types of conduct. Protected activities include things like reporting an employer’s unlawful or discriminatory conduct, participating in an investigation into allegations of discrimination, reporting safety violations, and others. Adverse actions include anything that would keep reasonable employees from engaging in protected activities. However, prohibited adverse actions do not include justified negative comments or petty slights.
Retaliation is prohibited under local, state, and federal laws after you have filed a sexual assault or harassment report. Your employer is not allowed to retaliate against you even if your sexual assault or harassment complaint is found to be without merit as long as you had a good faith belief that it occurred. Your employer also can’t retaliate against you if you are involved in a case against your former employer. While retaliation is prohibited, you still must follow the rules of your job. If you break the rules of your job, your employer’s adverse action against you may be warranted and legal.
How a lawyer can help victims of retaliation
If you have suffered a sexual assault or sexual harassment at your job, you can take legal action against the person who assaulted or harassed you because of your protected status. Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, protected characteristics include national origin, color, race, religion, and sex. This federal law covers employers that have at least 15 employees. Other laws offer additional protection for employers with fewer than 15 employees.
Many workers are afraid to pursue legal action for unlawful discrimination because they are afraid that their employers will retaliate against them. However, employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees for filing complaints or for pursuing legal action.
Retaliation and sexual assault claims can be complex. Because of their nature, you should speak with an experienced employment discrimination lawyer at Leeds Brown P.C. as soon as possible. Even if your discrimination complaint is not found to be valid, your employer can still be liable if you are retaliated against for complaining. To prove retaliation, your attorney will need to show that your employer had a retaliatory motive when it took the adverse action against you. In addition to Title VII, the New York Human Rights Law and the New York City Human Rights Law also prohibit retaliation by employers.
Your attorney will look for evidence to establish your employer’s retaliatory motive such as proximity in time between the retaliatory action and your report of sexual assault or harassment. Other types of evidence can include written and verbal statements, evidence that other workers were treated differently for similar alleged infractions, or evidence that the employer’s claim that the adverse action was based on performance problems is false.
Get help from an employment discrimination attorney in New York
A retaliation claim can be raised within your discrimination complaint or can be filed as a separate lawsuit. Local, state, and federal laws recognize the difficulty of filing sexual assault and harassment complaints against their employers and prohibit retaliatory actions. The employment discrimination and retaliation attorneys at Leeds Brown Law P.C. are dedicated to protecting the rights of workers. Contact us today to schedule a consultation by calling us or by filling out our online contact form.