Can workers be fired for reporting sexual harassment?

Workers here in Indiana may have many fears when they have been subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace. This includes a fear that they could lose their job if they report the conduct to their employer.

It is important for workers to know that federal law provides workers with protections on this front. This is due to federal anti-retaliation laws. These laws apply to a great many employers here in the United States. They prohibit employers from firing, or committing other retaliatory actions against, an employee for engaging in protected activities.

Reporting sexual harassment to supervisors or management is such a protected activity.

Other examples of protected activities include:

  • Pursuing or being a witness in an investigation, charge or lawsuit over workplace sexual harassment
  • Resisting unwanted sexual advances
  • Intervening to protect another worker from sexual harassment

Unfortunately, while federal laws ban the firing of workers for reporting or taking the above-mentioned actions against sexual harassment, it is not a sure thing that the employers who the laws apply to will follow this prohibition. There is always the chance an employer will decide to cross the line and wrongfully fire a worker for speaking up about a sexual harassment incident.

When this happens, the victim of the wrongful retaliation can generally pursue legal remedies. Employment law attorneys can provide workers who suspect that a firing or other negative employment action they were subjected to was done in retaliation for reporting sexual harassment with guidance on what can be done in response.

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