Can I sue my past employer regarding harassment by a co-worker and is it worth it?

I was being harassed by a co-worker and verbally complained many times to my supervisor about it. I had more than 1 meeting with management as well so they knew very well my concerns. Nothing ever came from my complaints and nothing changed about the harassment. This person eventually claimed that I verbally threatened them and I was fired. I am a male and the coworker that was harassing me was a female. I believe I was treated unfairly due to my gender.

Asked on September 9, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

IF you believe you can prove that the treatment was *because* you were male and she was female, *and* that the employer let her do this because the employer was discriminating against men, then you would have a worthwhile legal cause of action since you were fired; the best way to explore it, however, is probably to contact your state equal/civil rights agency or the federal EEOC to file a sex-based employment discrimination claim. Those agencies can give you a good idea of whether our claim is valid or not, and potentially help you get compensation without you having to go to the time, trouble, and expense of litigation. 
Bear in mind that if she simply disliked you personally, and management took her side, not yours, due to personal dislike, or her being related to someone else in the company, or her being a better performer or more senior than you, that is not discrimination: the fact that you were two different sexes does not, by itself, make this discrimination. The negative behavior must have been motivated by your sex for there to be a valid claim.


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