A variety of behaviors creates the modern workforce’s unacceptable culture of fear, in which victims keep quiet even as they continually are mistreated on the job. This can take many forms, ranging from inappropriate remarks to unwanted touching. No matter how minor these actions may seem, they hold the potential to distress victims and derail their careers. Perpetrators should be held accountable, but this is often easier said than done.
Sexual harassment victims face significant roadblocks in their search for justice. Rather than take steps to hold perpetrators accountable, organizations often make every effort to silence victims. As a result, it’s not uncommon to be fired for bringing a sexual harassment case.
It’s time to fight back. Equipped with a strong legal team, it’s possible to hold employers responsible — and force them to address the toxic culture that has caused so much harm over the years. That’s exactly what we’re committed to doing at the Gilleon Law Firm.
A trusted resource for employer retaliation cases, the Gilleon Law Firm offers targeted services for clients who have been wrongfully terminated due to their efforts to file sexual harassment claims. We hate to see skilled employees getting fired in retaliation for shining a light on a common workplace issue — and we’re eager to do our part to eliminate this problem.
What to Do If You’re Fired for Bringing a Sexual Harassment Case
What Is Retaliatory Discharge? What Role Does It Play in Sexual Harassment Cases?
Retaliatory discharge occurs when employers fire workers as retaliation for taking actions they deem undesirable. In such cases, employees aren’t terminated due to issues with their job performance, but, rather, because they dared to speak up about or take action against workplace transgressions.
Although discriminatory in nature and banned by multiple employment regulations, retaliatory discharge runs rampant in nearly every industry. It’s sadly common in California, where workers are presumed to be employed at will. This means that they can be fired at any time and for nearly any reason, so long as the termination is “regulated by good faith on the part of the employer.” Under this guidance, retaliatory measures are technically banned, but that doesn’t mean that employees are protected.
Unfortunately, proving that termination was retaliatory in nature can be exceedingly difficult. This is true even when significant evidence is available to demonstrate that the victim of termination brought a sexual harassment case immediately prior to being let go.
How Do You Prove Retaliatory Discharge?
If you’ve suffered wrongful termination for a sexual harassment claim, you’ll face an uphill battle in highlighting the retaliatory nature of your job loss. You’ll need to demonstrate that your termination was not prompted by issues with your job performance, but instead represented an effort to make you pay for bringing a sexual harassment case. To that end, you’ll need legal support from an attorney with a strong background in this specific type of employment law to prove that your termination represented retaliatory discharge.
Evidence Used to Prove Retaliatory Discharge
Any case involving retaliatory discharge will involve building a strong link between your efforts to engage in protected activities (such as filing a sexual harassment claim) and your subsequent firing. Along the way, you may need to gather two main types of proof:
- Direct evidence. As one of the most powerful tools in your sexual harassment-based wrongful termination case, direct evidence can involve either oral or written statements. No matter how it’s delivered, the statement in question should obviously demonstrate a link between the protected action and the ensuing termination. For example, email exchanges may reveal that your employer purposefully let you go because you filed a sexual harassment case. Oral evidence can be more difficult to obtain but could involve voicemails, recordings, or statements from witnesses.
- Circumstantial evidence. Unfortunately, direct evidence is commonly unavailable in wrongful termination cases. Often, the nature of the firing is more insidious. Circumstantial evidence can highlight the implied connection between protected actions and termination. This may involve showing a pattern of inappropriate discharge. If, for example, firing often happens right after employees complain of being harassed, it should be easy to demonstrate the role of retaliation.
An experienced attorney at Gilleon Law Firm can explain the process of how to prove retaliatory discharge in your case. Contact us to discuss your wrongful termination after you filed a sexual harassment claim.
How Do Sexual Harassment Claims Impact Wrongful Termination Cases?
While a variety of factors can lead to wrongful termination, sexual harassment claims are unique. The sensitive nature of these cases calls for a strategic and highly empathetic approach. Without this, it can be difficult to build the trusting attorney-client relationships that are vital to success and which deliver the justice and sense of closure needed after multiple emotional traumas.
What’s another key difference when sexual harassment claims are involved? The role of official complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). According to retaliation guidelines from the EEOC, employers are barred from discharging employees for “resisting sexual advances, or intervening to protect others.” Additionally, the EEOC prohibits retaliation tied to “filing or being a witness in an EEO charge, complaint, investigation, or lawsuit.”
To succeed in a wrongful termination case tied to sexual harassment claims, it is crucial to understand the scope of Equal Employment Opportunity laws as they apply to both sexual harassment and retaliation. This is why it’s important to work with an attorney who has a thorough understanding of both areas.
In-depth legal knowledge may be important when handling cases that involve both sexual harassment claims and wrongful termination, but this is only the beginning. Attorneys must be capable of acting on this understanding by aggressively advocating on behalf of their clients. The California employment law attorneys of the Gilleon Law Firm possess all of the qualities necessary for securing a positive outcome in your wrongful termination case.
Possible Outcomes for Retaliatory Discharge Cases Involving Sexual Harassment
Wrongful termination cases involving sexual harassment can produce multiple types of compensation. Employees who have been unfairly fired often seek monetary damages to cover lost wages and benefits. In select cases involving especially egregious violations, punitive damages may be available. These can be difficult to obtain but are not unheard of when sexual harassment claims lead to retaliatory discharge.
When wrongful termination cases begin with sexual harassment claims, desired outcomes may go beyond compensation alone. Wrongful termination attorneys may seek not only extensive financial damages to account for the employee’s losses and emotional distress, but also actions to ensure that defendants do not repeat the behavior in the future.
Example of Wrongful Termination for a Sexual Harassment Claim: Zaxby’s
Fast food chain Zaxby’s provides a relevant example with its 2019 sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit. This case ended with a consent decree, in which the business was required to implement a formal anti-discrimination policy. This mandated policy was to include a detailed definition and examples of sexual harassment.
The case’s resolution also included the development of a complaint procedure to allow employees to report sexual harassment without fear of losing their jobs. While the victim’s compensation played an important role in the outcome, the case also spurred much-needed change for the protection of other employees.
As forward-thinking sexual harassment and retaliation attorneys, we are mindful of our ability to shape the workplace of tomorrow. While some plaintiffs are primarily interested in obtaining damages, many view wrongful termination lawsuits as an opportunity to enact lasting change, particularly when the issue of sexual harassment is involved. At the Gilleon Law Firm, our sexual harassment and wrongful termination lawyers help clients achieve victory as they define it.
Gilleon Law: Your Resource for Cases Involving Wrongful Termination for a Sexual Harassment Claim
Are you ready to stand up for yourself and other workers who have been unfairly treated after filing sexual harassment claims? You don’t need to take on a wrongful termination for a sexual harassment claim on your own. In fact, your chances of achieving the legal victory you deserve are far greater if you seek help from a law firm with a strong track record in this specific area of employment law.
With the Gilleon Law Firm in your corner, you can feel confident in your ability to deliver justice where it’s most needed. Our aggressive attorneys are committed to transforming today’s toxic workplace, one lawsuit at a time. They hate to see hardworking employees harmed by both sexual harassment and retaliatory discharge.
Throughout the legal process, our attorneys will treat you with the empathy and respect you lacked as an employee. There will never be any question as to whether we care. We’ll be there every step of the way to provide insight, support, and aggressive legal advocacy.
Don’t let employers get away with allowing a toxic work environment in which behaviors such as sexual harassment and wrongful termination run rampant. You have the power to deliver lasting change — you just need a proactive attorney on your side. Contact the Gilleon Law Firm today to learn how you can get started with a complimentary consultation.