Best Ohio Sexual Harassment Attorney Answer: Am I protected under the law from being fired if I report sexual harassment by my boss? What if my employer forces me to quit after I am sexually harassed by a manager? Can my employer fire me soon after I report sexual harassment to HR?
Hopefully you have learned from reading our attorneys’ extensive sexual harassment blog posts that if you are wrongfully terminated or demoted from your job as a result of reporting sexual harassment, your employer could be liable for retaliation. (See Lawyer: What Is Retaliation For Reporting Sexual Harassment?; Top Lawyer: Can I Be Fired For Reporting Sexual Harassment?; Help, My Boss Sexually Harassing Me! – Call The Right Attorney; and What Can I Do If My Boss Sexually Harasses Me?).
Ohio and Federal laws are crystal clear that termination or demotion as a result of reporting harassment or discrimination is illegal. Our sexual harassment lawyers often talk about the fact that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Ohio’s similar sex based discrimination laws not only protect employees from sexually harassing conduct but also retaliation from reporting, opposing, or participating in an investigation into such unlawful conduct. Title VII expressly prohibits retaliation against any employee who complains of sexual harassment or participates in an investigation involving sexual harassment. Retaliation means that an employer cannot fire, demote, harass or take an adverse action against an employee took such protected action.
A recent Massachusetts case highlighted this very important protection that state and federal laws offer to employees who report sexual harassment in the workplace. A bar/restaurant called Joshua Tree was hit with a huge jury verdict because the bar decided that it would be best to get rid of employees that were the victim of sexual harassment instead of investigating and helping to eradicate the harassment. In the lawsuit, two former employees sued the bar and claimed they were sexually harassed.
One former employer claimed that her supervisor fired her because she didn’t have a particular sexualized look they wanted in female employees and that her supervisor did not like that the employee did not go along with further sexually inappropriate conduct. This included the boss telling employees that he wanted to have sex with female customers and touching employees inappropriately. The supervisor also told the employee that he wanted young and sexual female employees and that she did not “fit the mold” and she was too old, so he was firing her. After turning down an offer for her to resign, the bar fired her. The bartender claimed she was replaced by another female employee who she believed was having a sexual relationship with the harassing supervisor.
To make matters worse, the bar also terminated another female employee who stood up to the supervisor about the way he was treating the harassed employee. This constituted clear retaliation in violation of Title VII.
In creating this kind of situation, the employer hit a trifecta in violating sexual harassment laws in three different ways. First, there was a sexually hostile work place because the inappropriate sexual talk and actions permeated the work environment that made it difficult for the women to work in. Second, the boss engaged in what lawyers call quid pro quo sexual harassment, which means that he demanded sexual favors in exchange for job security. Quid pro quo sexual harassment is made worse when the boss not only takes benefits away from a woman that refuses but then gives added benefits to a woman or women that do give into the sexual demands of the boss, manager or supervisor. Third, as discussed above, wrongfully firing women that complain or report sexual harassment to HR or management is illegal retaliation under both federal and state sexual harassment laws.
Of course, the manager and employer denied that there as any wrong doing and tried to argue that these women were fired for bad performance. This is a typical tactic by employers in response to employment discrimination, wrongful termination, and retaliation claims.
Fortunately for the terminated employees, a Massachusetts jury agreed that the bar’s conduct was patently illegal. The jury awarded the harassed bartender $287,198 plus interest and the employee who stuck up for the harassed employee $110,889 plus interest. All told, the bar cost themselves nearly $400,000 for creating a sexually inappropriate atmosphere at work and getting rid of employees who reported sexually harassing conduct.
If you are working in an environment that mirrors Joshua Tree or you have stuck up for other employees who are being sexually harassed, you need to talk to an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible. It will help make sure that employers who don’t follow clear state and federal laws against sexual harassment and retaliation are held accountable.
Sexual harassment is unlawful under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and similar Ohio laws. Sexual harassment is a form of gender discrimination. If you feel that you are being sexually harassed or are working in a sexually charged or hostile working environment, you should not wait to call the right attorney at (216) 291-4744 to schedule a free and confidential consultation. At The Spitz Law Firm, you will meet with a sexual harassment lawyer/hostile work environment attorney to find out what your legal rights are and the best way to protect them. Sexual harrassment is a form of gender discrimination, and employers should be held accountable if they discriminate against female workers in any fashion – but particularly for sexual harrassment. It does not matter if you have been wrongfully fired or are still employed, there is no reason to wait to find out what your legal rights are and how to protect yourself from sexual harassment and gender discrimination.
The materials available at the top of this page and at this gender discrimination, wrongful termination, and sex harassment law website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. If you are still asking “what should I do …”, “I’m being sexually harassed …” “my supervisor grabbed my…”, “my boss is touching…,” “I’ve been wrongfully terminated,” or “how do I …”, your best course is to contact an Ohio sexual harassment attorney/hostile work environment lawyer to obtain advice with respect to sexual harassment/hostile work environment questions or any particular employment law issue. Use and access to this employment law website or any of the links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship. The legal opinions expressed at the top of this page or through this employment law website are the opinions of the individual lawyer and may not reflect the opinions of The Spitz Law Firm, Brian Spitz, or any individual attorney.