An employer who retaliates against an employee for objecting to, or complaining about, sexual harassment violates the law. The law deems such objections and complaints to be “protected activity” than an employee cannot be punished for. Sexual harassment qualifies as a protected activity. To establish a retaliation claim, the plaintiff must prove all of the following:
- That the plaintiff complained of harassment or objected to it;
- That the Employer fired, demoted, or otherwise punished the plaintiff;
- That the plaintiff’s complaint or objection was a “substantial motivating reason” for the Employer's decision to fire, demote, or punish the plaintiff;
- That the plaintiff was harmed; and
- That the Employer's conduct was a substantial factor in causing the plaintiff’s harm.
A "substantial motivating factor" exists when the employer has punished the plaintiff and the plaintiff’s prior complaint or objection is both a motivating factor and a substantial factor in producing that punishment.
Not only is sexual harassment illegal. The law also prohibits:
- Racial harassment
- Religious harassment
- Age-based harassment
- Harassment based on disability
- Harassment based on ethnicity or national origin