Can my employer force me to change my hours, demote me or put a manager over me after I filed sexual harassment complaint with HR?

UPDATED: Jan 18, 2012

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Can my employer force me to change my hours, demote me or put a manager over me after I filed sexual harassment complaint with HR?

A couple months ago a manager sexually harassed me and had to resign. My new manager is friends with the resigned one and amongst many things is trying to force me to change my schedule. We do not need to make the schedule change, its just the guy we hired for eves and weekends is complaining abut his hours and they want to accommodate him to keep him. If I’m forced to change my schedule I will have to transfer to a even lower job or quit all together which will hurt my family tremendously beings I am the only income. I’ve also been reprimanded for mistakes not mine.

Asked on January 18, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You should speak with an employment law attorney--you may have a legal cause of action. It is illegal to retaliate against someone for filing a sexual harassment claim. It is permissible to fire, transfer, demote, etc. someone who had filed such a claim, but only for legitimate reasons unconnected with the fact of the claim--such as for poor work performance, restructuring or reorganizing, excessive absenteeism, etc. Transferring you to a different shift could be legitimate, if there is a valid reason--e.g. the individual who is complaining about that shift has been there longer than you, has better experience or credentials, etc., so that it is appropriate to accomodate him--and you are, based on your own credentials, time in service, experience, etc., the most appropriate choice to do so. But if this is not the case--if there is not a good, legitimate reason for this--it may be retaliation, which, as stated, is illegal. Based on what you have written, it would be worthwhile to discuss the matter in detail with an employment law attorney.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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