A former California university employee has brought a lawsuit for wrongful termination and retaliation against his former employer. He claims that the university fired him because he refused to participate in covering up incidents of sexual abuse committed by his colleagues against various students. He also alleges he was subject to other incidences of retaliation before being fired.
When it comes to workplace harassment or discrimination, the same rules apply. Every employee has the right to report any kind of harassment, discrimination or abuse in their place of work regardless of whether it happens to them or others. Yet, most workplace incidents go unreported because people fear retaliation by the employer or colleagues. Cases such as this one substantiate that fear.
Eradicating harassment and discrimination requires commitment
Federal and state employment laws forbid retaliation of any kind against someone who reports harassment or discrimination. It requires that employers have policies to make it simpler for people to report it when it does happen.
No employer, whatever their line of business, wants to be seen as a place where bad things happen. Yet by trying to cover up incidents, they allow these activities to continue unpunished. It sends a message that its reputation is more important than an individual’s safety and well-being.
If the bosses in the company tell you to take retaliatory action against someone who reports harassment or discrimination, you should refuse. Otherwise, you could end up in legal problems yourself. If your employer turns around and fires you for not complying with their orders, it is crucial to seek legal help. Doing the right thing should never cost you your job.