Akers Law Offices, PLLC
Call Us Today to Schedule Your Free Initial Consultation
Charleston: 304-932-4571
Toll Free: 888-689-4893
  • Injured In An Accident?

    Protect your claim. Don’t talk to the insurance company. Don’t sign. Talk to us first.
    Tell Us About Your Accident
  • Suffered Serious Harm?

    You have rights at work, school and on others’ property. We’ll help you enforce them.
    Tell Us What Happened
  • Contact Us Today!

    We are here to help. Even if you just have questions about your rights and options.
    Get Your Free Consultation

Over the line: Retaliation for sexual harassment complaints

When someone reports sexual harassment, it seems like it would make sense to do something about the harassment, not retaliate against the person reporting it.

Unfortunately, retaliation can and does happen. For example, a temporary staffing company called Labor Ready sent two female workers to a job site in West Virginia where they were subjected to physical and verbal sexual harassment, as well as racial slurs. When they complained, Labor Ready retaliated by first denying them a promised job assignment and then firing them. Labor Ready ended up paying $72,500 to settle the case through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The company also agreed to a host of corrective actions, some of which are designed to prevent future problems with retaliation against those who make complaints.

Why do companies or individual managers retaliate against the people who expose illegal workplace behavior? There's probably no one reason that applies to all cases. In the case of Labor Ready, the staffing company may have been worried it would lose a valuable customer if the women didn't just put up with the harassment.

In other cases, retaliation may rise out of things like an individual supervisor's pride—he or she may feel like a complaint is a personal affront to his or her ability to manage. Some higher-level employees may also see making a complaint as an attack on the whole company with the potential to damage its reputation. In those cases, a misguided sense of loyalty may motivate the retaliation. Employees on all levels may also want a little revenge, particularly if their own behavior is called into question by the complaint.

However, retaliation is illegal under both the EEOC and the West Virginia Human Rights Act, either of which could be used by an employee who needs to file a sexual harassment complaint. That makes retaliation an especially foolish choice for employers because retaliation over a sexual harassment complaint becomes it own offense—meaning that an employee who alleges both could fail to prove the sexual harassment and still win a sizable judgment over the fact that he or she was subjected to retaliation for complaining.

If you've been sexually harassed in the workplace and your employer's reaction was to treat you like the villain, an attorney can help you decide if you want to proceed with a complaint through either the EEOC or the West Virginia Human Rights Act.

Source: WAGE Project, "State Law: West Virginia," accessed Dec. 02, 2016

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Get The Legal Help You Deserve. Contact Us Today.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Case Results

  • Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, donec morbi dolor massa velit mi, etiam nunc etiam libero eu ac augue, sapien venenatis et mattis a tortor.
Read More >


  • Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, donec morbi dolor massa velit mi, etiam nunc etiam libero eu ac augue, sapien venenatis et mattis a tortor.
Read More >