Employer Responsibility to Correct Workplace Harassment

Employment Law News | January 11, 2021

No one deserves to face harassment in the workplace. If you notify your employer that you are experiencing harassment or another form or discrimination, he or she has a responsibility to correct the issue. Not all employers protect the interests of workers who experience harassment, however. If your employer ignores your request for help, you may hold him or her accountable through an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) claim or workplace harassment lawsuit.

What If Your Employer Fails to Address Harassment After You Report It?

Harassment can violate several federal laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Employers have a responsibility to create a working environment free from harassment and to respond to any reports of harassment in a reasonable manner.

Your workplace should have a human resources process in place to handle these complaints. If you notify your employer of harassment and he or she fails to act, you may be eligible to file an EEOC claim or lawsuit against your employer.

Can You Get in Trouble for Reporting Harassment?

It is illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee who reports an instance of harassment. Your employer cannot fire you, demote you, reduce your hours or pay, or take any other retaliatory action against you after your report. If you do get in trouble for reporting harassment, document every instance of retaliation carefully and save all physical evidence.

Bring this information to a workplace retaliation attorney to discuss your legal rights and options. You may be eligible to file legal claims against your employer not only for ignoring your harassment, but for taking retaliatory actions as well.

Filing a Claim with the EEOC

If you provide your employer with the opportunity to correct the harassment and he or she fails to respond, you can file a claim with the EEOC. The EEOC, a federal agency, takes claims of harassment very seriously and will fully investigate your claim. If it determines that your employer failed to respond to harassment, he or she can face strict penalties.

  • Your first step is to file a Charge of Harassment with the EEOC, which you can complete online. Provide as much detail in this report as possible.
  • After receiving your Charge of Harassment, the EEOC will schedule an interview to discuss the issue with you. The EEOC representative will explain how to proceed with your claim.
  • The EEOC will then investigate the claim. At the conclusion of the investigation, the agency may schedule a mediation between you and your employer so you can reach a mutual settlement agreement.

Bring a Lawsuit Against Your Employer

If your EEOC claim does not result in your desired outcome, you can escalate your complaint to a lawsuit. You can request a Notice of Right to Sue from the EEOC, which you can use to file a claim against your employer. You will then file a complaint in New York civil court seeking compensatory damages for the losses you experienced due to the harassment.

In these situations, you need a New York employment lawyer on your side. Your attorney will guide you through the lawsuit process and help you understand which remedies you qualify for, allowing you to hold your employer accountable for his or her actions. Contact a New York employment attorney as soon as possible to strategize your next steps.