When can an employee sue for retaliation?

I work for a contracted company that transports railroad crews and one of the railroad crew members sexually harassed me while was drunk at work. They fired him but I’m now being harassed by other crew members. Can I sue because of retaliation?

Asked on September 12, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Have you reported the harassment by the other crew members to managemant and/or HR whomever is designated or supposed to receive such reports? An employer must be given notice of harassment and a reasonable chance to investigate and take action. If you haven't reported the harassment, do so--if the company takes action, there would be no grounds for a suit, since the company's obligation is to take action when harassment of this sort either sexual harassment, or retaliation for having reported sexual harassment is brought to its attention.
However, if after you bring the harrassment to the company's attention, they do nothing, then you may have grounds for a lawsuit for illegal retaliation you may not be retaliated against for having brought sexual harassment to light, and that includes that the company may not passively let its employees harass you. So if the employer does not take reasonable action after you report the harassment, that would be  good time to speak with an employment law attorney about the situation and possibly suing.

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