Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbids discriminating against employees based on sex. As noted by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, unlawful actions may include offensive remarks about an individual’s gender.
Repeated comments or “jokes” that make individuals uncomfortable generally classify as harassment. Offenders may include a company’s managers and supervisors. Co-workers or customers may also contribute to employees experiencing workplace distress.
A manager may help create a hostile work environment
When an employee brings attention to unwelcome actions, a manager or supervisor must find a way to stop them from recurring. Disciplining offensive employees, for example, may help to prevent unwanted advances from continuing.
Management’s failure to remedy a situation after an employee’s complaint may worsen an already hostile environment. The affected individual may begin to experience increased aggression or bullying from co-workers.
A termination may reflect retaliation for complaints
If an individual loses his or her job after complaining about sexual harassment, the termination may have violated federal labor laws. Showing how a manager’s decision came about as a response to an individual’s complaint may help to prove the unlawful firing.
As reported by Insurance Journal, an Ohio cleaning company settled a lawsuit after a former employee complained of sexual harassment. In addition to salacious comments, the employee endured ogling and unwanted touching. After making repeated complaints about the hostile environment, the company terminated her.
Wrongful termination used as a form of retaliation may require legal action for relief. Remedies may include damages for lost wages or back pay. The court may also order a company to train employees on how to prevent harmful actions in the future.