In 2017, actress Eliza Dushku was hired for a new series. She claims that soon after she was hired, a lead male actor began making sexually inappropriate comments to her.
Although CBS had made promises regarding the longevity of her career, the actress was soon dismissed from the show – an action she believes was in retaliation for reporting the harassment.
Dushku was eventually awarded $9.5 million by CBS. The monetary award was based on an estimate of what the actress would have earned had she remained in her role for several years.
What many may not realize is that Dushku suffered two different types of discrimination. The first was sexual harassment, perpetrated by her male coworker. The second type of discrimination she faced was the retaliation by CBS.
Most Americans are familiar with the struggle to identify and end discrimination in the workplace. This discrimination can take the form of:
- Sexism and gender discrimination
- Racial discrimination
- Discrimination against those with a disability
- Religious discrimination
- Sexual harassment and other types of harassment
However, many people may not realize that retaliation itself is discrimination, and it can occur after reporting another type of discrimination in the workplace.
Retaliation in the Workplace
According to the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC), retaliation is a form of discrimination in the workplace that happens when a company or employer punishes an employee for asserting his or her rights. In Dushku’s case, it was her right to be free of sexual harassment.
In fact, it is illegal for an employer to punish or penalize a worker for the following:
- Answering questions or giving testimony in a discrimination complaint, investigation, or lawsuit
- Reporting or discussing workplace discrimination with a supervisor
- Rejecting sexual advances at work
- Intervening to protect coworkers from discrimination
- Requesting accommodation for disabilities or religious practices
- Requesting salary information to uncover discriminatory wages
Proving Retaliation in the Workplace
Proving retaliation in the workplace can be extremely difficult. For example, if an employee was sexually harassed at work, reported the event(s) to their supervisor, and was then terminated, an employer will most often claim the employee exhibited poor work performance.
Retaliation in the workplace is often very subtle. Employees who are experiencing one or more of the following should consult with a Middletown employmemt lawyer to determine the best course of action.
- Schedule changes or conflicts
- Job transfers or demotions
- Sudden poor work performance reviews
- Verbal abuse or threats
- Lies, rumors, or other character attacks
- Passed over for promotions or raises
- Canceled employment training, events, or contracts
Employees who suspect they are the victim of discrimination should keep detailed notes about what was said and done. Additionally, it may be necessary to have proof that a manager or supervisor was contacted regarding the issue. Utilizing email communication to document discriminatory behavior is a good first step.
Middletown Sexual Harassment Lawyers at McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. Represent Victims of Harassment and Retaliation in the Workplace
If you have questions about identifying retaliation in the workplace, or experienced sexual harassment or another form of discrimination, you do have recourse. A dedicated and compassionate Middletown sexual harassment lawyer at McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. can help.
Call our Red Bank office at 732-842-6500, our Marlton office at 856-985-9800, our Newark office at 973-878-9040, or contact us at 888-396-0736 or online for a free consultation. We represent clients throughout New Jersey.