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What to Do When You Suspect Employer Retaliation for Reporting Sexual Harassment

When You Suspect Employer Retaliation

After experiencing or witnessing sexual harassment in the workplace, you made the difficult—and brave—decision to report it. Now you're staring one of your worst-case scenarios in the face: Rather than resolving the problem, your employer's treating you differently in what feels like a clear case of retaliation. Sound familiar?

Sadly, situations like these play out in workplaces throughout the country on a daily basis, and West Virginia is no exception.

At Bailess Law Firm, our caring, conscientious, and capable attorneys firmly believe that employees have a right to work in a safe environment that's free from harassment or abuse, and be able to raise their concerns without fear of retaliation. Fortunately, the law agrees. Both state and federal law safeguards workers against retaliation for protected activities like reporting sexual harassment or other unsafe or unlawful conditions.

If you reported on-the-job sexual harassment against yourself or someone else, and are experiencing unfair negative consequences from your employer as a result, our highly skilled legal team can help you fight to hold them accountable, and recover dignity, confidence, and fair damages in the process. Here's what you should know.

Recognizing Retaliation in the Workplace

"Retaliation" is a term that covers a range of bad actions an employer may take to punish a worker for engaging in legally protected activities. It can take any number of forms in the workplace, from assigning an employee to work a less desirable shift to abruptly terminating their employment. Here are just a few common examples of workplace retaliation:

  • Demotions
  • Reduced hours
  • Reduced pay
  • Write ups
  • Suspensions
  • Creating a hostile work environment
  • Scheduling you to work less desirable shifts
  • Scheduling you to work alongside your harasser
  • Layoffs
  • Termination
  • Job or shift reassignment
  • Failing to take prompt corrective actions against the harasser

What to Do: Reporting On-the-Job Retaliation

When you're being targeted for retaliation, we recommend you contact a skilled employment attorney who can help you understand your legal rights. Depending on the source of the retaliation, you may want to report the retaliation to a supervisor or the owner of the company.  If the source of the retaliation is coming from management or the owner, then you may want to alert human resources or call the company hotline if one exists. If you feel like reporting the retaliation will only make things worse for you, we totally understand. Give us a call and we will walk you through your options moving forward.

Worker Protections

The Mountain State has a number of laws that shield workers from punishment for reporting sexual harassment, including the West Virginia Human Rights Act, West Virginia Patient Safety Act, West Virginia Workers' Compensation Act, and others.

Whether you reported on-the-job sexual harassment, or a work environment made hostile, toxic, or unsafe by sexual harassment, you're well within your rights. Bailess Law Firm's compassionate employment lawyers can serve as your fierce legal advocates, and help you file a case to hold your employer accountable.

Potential Damages

Depending on the details of your claim, we may be able to help you obtain damages for lost wages, emotional distress, and—if your employer's conduct was particularly egregious—possible punitive damages. When you hire our team to represent you, we'll listen without judgment and get to work building a strong case to prove the following:

  • You experienced or witnessed sexual harassment in the workplace.
  • You engaged in a protected activity, such as reporting the harassment.
  • Your employer responded by taking adverse action(s) against you.
  • You suffered economic or non-economic damages as a result.

Helping Workplace Sexual Harassment Survivors Fight Back Against Employer Retaliation

At Bailess Law Firm, we know that you're going through an extremely distressing situation and we're here to help set things right. Complete our online contact form and a knowledgeable member of our team will reach out to discuss your case, your rights, and how we can help you. You can also download our book It's Not Your Fault: How to Fight Back Against Sexual Harassment in the Workplace to learn your options. We're discrete, understanding, non-judgmental and, most importantly, on your side.

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