Jose A. Gonzalez
Could you get in trouble for reporting harassment at work?
When you work for someone else, there are certain rules they expect you to follow. And while you may not agree with all of your employer’s policies and procedures, you must abide by them in order to keep your job.
There is a distinct difference between disagreeing with something and knowing legal lines are crossed, but in some circumstances, maltreatment could occur within your workplace. And while you know there is a problem, you might be afraid to mention it for fear that doing so will put your job at risk. However, there are laws protecting you from retaliation after reporting allegations of workplace discrimination or harassment to your employer.
The Air National Guard is not above the law
Due to allegedly covering up for certain soldiers after a female Staff Sgt. found someone had urinated in her combat boots, the head of the California Air National Guard was relieved of his command. News reports suggest that retaliatory efforts continue despite the system designed to hold high-ranking officials accountable.
Allegedly, reporting incidents of wrongdoing often gave way to fear of retaliation under the former Major General’s command. However, as an employee, you have the right to notify your employer about harassment experienced on the job.
Employees have the right to raise questions and concerns
As a reporter of a potential violation of state and federal employment laws, it is important to remember that if you report a violation to your superior, they may not legally:
- Prevent you from filing a complaint
- Take retaliatory action against you
- Require you to participate in activities which are not in compliance with regulations
If you experience retaliation due to reporting harassment in your workplace, you may be wise to report your concerns to an external regulator. Filing a complaint with your superior may be uncomfortable. However, there may be ways you could hold your employer accountable for their actions if they do not act in accordance with state and federal employment laws.