Interesting and Relevant Articles on Sexual Harassment
What Is Sexual Harassment Retaliation?
When an employee alleges sexual harassment, that employee is in a vulnerable position. Often, an employee is subjected to punishment as revenge for having made the allegation. This type of punishment that stems specifically from making a sexual harassment allegation is known as retaliation.
Like sexual harassment itself, retaliation can take many forms, from receiving verbal insults to being demoted or fired. And like sexual harassment, retaliation in the workplace is illegal. As the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) explains, "The same laws that prohibit discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, and genetic information also prohibit retaliation against individuals who oppose unlawful discrimination." Despite the fact that is retaliation is illegal, it remains a common problem in the workplace. According to the EEOC, "retaliation has been the most frequently alleged basis of discrimination in the federal sector since fiscal year 2008."
Claims of retaliation are judged to be credible when three factors exist:
- an employee files a complaint in response to sexual harassment;
- the employee experiences a negative employment action (such as receiving a poor performance evaluation or being fired); and
- the complaint and the negative employment action are found to be linked.
In order to prevent retaliation, it is vital for an employer to have policies in place. Without anti-retaliation policies to safeguard an employee, she or he can be victimized all over again. In addition, if retaliation is allowed to go unaddressed, sexual harassment is much more likely to reoccur and to go unreported.