Employees reporting inappropriate conduct in the workplace may experience retaliation. As reported by USA Today, a National Women’s Law Center study found that 72% of employees encountered a hostile reaction after reporting harassment.
Researchers noted that retaliation may include the loss of promotions, lawsuits alleging defamation and termination. Approximately 37% of the employees claimed that their harassers did not face consequences.
Retaliation may take the form of a hostile work environment
Federal laws prohibit creating a hostile work environment in retaliation for reporting harassment. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission notes that retaliation includes poor performance reviews, spreading untruthful rumors and making work harder to perform.
The NWLC’s study also discovered employees experienced terminations and, in some cases, homelessness. Approximately 22% of employees experienced a loss of economic security after reporting harassment. About 20% of respondents admitted the harassment affected their mental well-being.
A legal action may provide a remedy
Termination resulting from reporting harassment may require a legal action. As reported by Think Advisor, a financial sector employee filed a legal action alleging a civil rights violation after a former employer terminated her. According to the complaint, a senior male manager instructing her in running a local branch office engaged in unwelcome and predatory behavior.
After reporting his behavior to the company, she received a warning that she acted unprofessionally. The warning then became part of her employment record. Eventually, the company let her go. She also alleges a denial of a promotion and “disparaging remarks” that her former employer published to describe her work at the company.
A retaliation that includes a wrongful termination may result in compensation for damages. A jury award may include lost wages, liquidation expenses and costs to reinstate a former business operation.