If I was harassed at work by a foreman a month ago but never wrote a complaint out of fear, could I still sue?

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If I was harassed at work by a foreman a month ago but never wrote a complaint out of fear, could I still sue?

The foreman emasculated me and called me “sugar britches” over and over again, and snickered to others about how “gay” I looked. I never knew him or talked to him prior, and I never provoked anything. Another foreman was there laughing with him, and it intimidated me and made me scared to write a complaint. Several other employees were around to hear and see him act the way he did, and enough said it was wrong and would defend me in court. The foreman has a history of harassingemployees and discriminating against race and ethnicity on the job. It’s not the first time he’s done this. Should I speak with an employment law attorney? I’m in  Mobile County, AL.

Asked on November 23, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Alabama

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

One month is not too long to sue or bring a legal action; unfortunately, from what you write, while other employees may have grounds to sue (anyone discriminated against on the basis of race, for example), you personally may not have any basis for legal action. That is because neither federal nor Alabama law protects against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation--as wrong as that sort of discrimination may be, it appears to be legal in Alabama. Thus, if the harassment against you was based on your actual or perceived sexual orientation, that does not appear to be actionable.


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