Retaliation for Reporting Sexual Harassment
Jessica Ortega, a dental nurse from Stockton, has filed claims for wrongful termination, retaliation and sexual harassment against her supervisor, dentist Howard Chi, after her complaints of sexual harassment to her employer led to the loss of her job. Ms. Ortega claims that Chi would regularly make sexual references towards her at the Pacific Dental Clinic at the University of the Pacific, Stockton. When she and other women complained to the university’s human resources department, the complaints were ignored, her workload was increased, and she began receiving negative performance reviews. Ultimately, her employment was terminated.
The prohibition against retaliation
Under California discrimination and harassment laws, it is prohibited for an employer to discharge or otherwise discriminate against an employee for opposing sexual harassment, or for filing a complaint against someone for sexual harassment. Proving retaliation can be difficult, as it is necessary to show a link between the original complaint and the subsequent negative treatment by the employer. Oftentimes, employers look for a pretext under which to hide the negative treatment, such as poor performance or disciplinary problems, to avoid accusations of retaliation. However, an experienced attorney can help to get around this issue.
How can I protect myself without losing my job?
If you have been subjected to sexual harassment, and were fired after you reported it, you may be able to get compensation for wrongful termination and for breach of discrimination laws. However, what worries a lot of people is how best to respond to sexual harassment without putting their job in jeopardy. This is a very difficult question, and the answer depends a great deal on the specifics of the situation. The most important thing to remember, though, is that whether you choose to put the incident behind you or to file a complaint, you have done nothing wrong and should never be subject to sexual harassment.
For guidance on how to handle your particular case, arrange a consultation with an experienced Los Angeles employment litigation attorney.