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Retaliation can happen regardless of claim disposition

If you report to your supervisor or employer that you have been discriminated against or sexually harassed, then the employer is not allowed to retaliate against you. Retaliation includes activities that impact your employment or pay if those actions were taken solely because of your report.

Once you make a report, the company usually engages in an investigation. You might also report issues to outside agencies or authorities, and outside investigations might take place. In some cases, the investigations might deem that the issue was not harassment or discrimination. Even if this is the case, you are still protected against retaliation.

An employer cannot fire you or make negative changes in your work relationship simply because you filed a claim that an investigation didn't uphold. You actually still have legal rights to file a lawsuit, too. Just because an internal investigation deemed no harassment occurred doesn't mean harassment wasn't present, for example.

Sometimes, an employer makes a decision that impacts your work even before an investigation is finished. In a good-faith effort to solve the situation, for example, the employer might move you from your position and into another so you aren't working directly with certain individuals anymore. But if this is a negative move for you, you might want to talk to your employer or reach out to an employment lawyer. It could be unintentional retaliation. The rule is usually that any type of movement related to a claim of harassment should involve the person who is accused of doing the harassing, not the potential victim.

Employment law can become complex with regard to these matters. If you feel you are being retaliated against, consider working with an experienced lawyer to understand what your options are.

Source: FindLaw, "Workplace Retaliation," accessed Aug. 26, 2016

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