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Proving workplace retaliation after reporting sexual harassment

On Behalf of | May 23, 2024 | Sexual Harassment |

Workplace retaliation can be a significant concern for those who report sexual harassment. Understanding how to prove retaliation is essential for protecting your rights in California.

Recognizing retaliation

Retaliation occurs when an employer takes bad action against an employee because the employee did a protected activity, like reporting sexual harassment. Common signs include sudden changes in job status or unjustified firing. Unfair, poor evaluations and Increased hostility or isolation from colleagues or supervisors may also be signs.

Documenting evidence

Collecting and documenting evidence is crucial for proving retaliation. Keep detailed records of all harassment incidents including the report you made and any resulting negative actions. Save emails, messages, and other communications. They show a change in behavior or adverse actions after your report. Gather statements from colleagues who witnessed the harassment or retaliation.

Legal protections

California laws provide robust protections against workplace retaliation. FEHA protects employees from retaliation. It covers reporting harassment or joining an investigation. Labor Code Section 1102.5 prohibits retaliation against employees who report illegal activities, like harassment.

Steps to take

If you believe you are facing retaliation, consider the following steps:

  • File a complaint: Report the retaliation to HR or a higher authority.
  • Seek legal advice: An employment lawyer can help you understand your rights and options.
  • File a claim: You may file a claim for retaliation. You can file it with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH).

Be prepared to make your best case

Even with careful preparation, proving workplace retaliation can be challenging. However, by learning to recognize and document retaliatory behavior, you can protect your rights.