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2 min read

How Am I Protected from Retaliation in Workplace Harassment?

It is illegal for your employer to retaliate or discriminate against you for asserting your rights and reporting misconduct. Still, you may ask, “What protection do I have against retaliation if I report workplace harassment?”

It is stressful, and it takes courage to report workplace harassment. But you are protected by various laws to keep you safe in speaking up. If you have been subjected to workplace harassment, you have the legal right to seek justice and report the situation without fearing adverse consequences.

Protection against Retaliation under Federal Laws

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is the key federal legislation prohibiting discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. It also safeguards employees from retaliation for reporting harassment or participating in investigations.

Similarly, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protects workers 40 and older from retaliation when reporting age-based harassment.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) safeguards individuals with disabilities against retaliation for reporting harassment or seeking reasonable accommodations.

Finally, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) protects employees who report harassment while on leave or seeking leave due to harassment-related issues.

Protection under State Laws

In addition to these federal laws, individual states have regulations to protect employees from retaliation in cases of workplace harassment.

State laws often expand the scope of protection beyond what federal statutes offer. Some states extend the protected characteristics to include sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status, ensuring a broader shield against harassment-related retaliation.

For example, California has the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), which prohibits retaliation against individuals for reporting workplace harassment, regardless of whether it is based on protected characteristics like race, gender, age, religion, disability, etc.

Similarly, New York has the New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL) that provides robust protection against retaliation for those reporting harassment. In Texas, the Texas Labor Code protects employees who report workplace harassment from retaliation. The Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD), the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD), the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA), and the Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 151B all do the same - to mention just a few.

State laws can vary significantly, so it is advisable to look into the specific laws in your state for detailed information on the protection you have against retaliation for reporting workplace harassment.

A Labor and Employment Law attorney can tell you more about the state laws that apply to your case.

Employer Policies and Procedures

In addition to legal protections, many employers have internal policies and procedures to address workplace harassment and retaliation. These policies often encourage employees to come forward and assure them of protection against retaliation.

Companies that fail to take appropriate action against retaliatory behavior can face legal consequences themselves, further emphasizing the importance of enforcing such policies.

Check your employee handbook and/or ask your company’s Human Resources department to clarify your employer’s policies and procedures relating to retaliation.

Claiming your Protection against Retaliation

If you believe you have been retaliated against for reporting workplace harassment, consider seeking legal advice from a Labor and Employment law attorney. They can guide you through the legal process, evaluate your situation, and help you understand your rights and options.

We invite you to get a free consultation with the Labor and Employment Law Legal Team here at Whitcomb Selinsky, PC. Call (866) 433-4116 or click here to use our convenient online form to tell us how we can help.