Being the victim of sexual harassment at your job can be a devastating experience. When you reject unwanted sexual advances from a supervisor or complain about lewd sexual jokes, innuendos, or texts from co-workers, you may find yourself fired from your job. Fortunately, you have protections under both federal and Texas laws, which prohibit sexual discrimination—including sexual harassment—at the workplace and wrongful terminations based on these illegal actions. If you were sexually harassed at work and were then fired or forced to quit, you may have a wrongful termination claim for compensation from your ex-employer.
Wrongful Termination Claims You May Have for Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
Both Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Texas Labor Code protect workers against sexual harassment by private employers with 15 or more employees. In addition, all state and local governmental entities are covered under these laws no matter how many employees they employ. Some actions that can constitute sexual harassment include:
- Making requests for sexual favors
- Making unwanted sexual advances
- Engaging in unwanted sexual touching, such as groping and touching
- Sending degrading and/or sexual pictures, videos, letters, cartoons, emails, and other content
- Making harassing calls or sending harassing text messages, emails, or love letters
- Requesting sexual favors in order for the victim to keep her job
- Offering benefits of employment in exchange for sexual requests
The laws against sexual harassment in the workplace also protect workers from being wrongfully terminated because of this. A wrongful termination claim can be based on the following:
- Quid pro quo sexual harassment. Quid pro quo sexual harassment is one type of sexual harassment claim where an employer requests sexual favors and threatens adverse action if the victim does not comply. If an employee is fired for refusing sexual advances or other sexual requests, she could have a wrongful termination claim against her employer.
- Retaliation. It is also illegal to retaliate against an employee for engaging in a protected activity, such as complaining to human resources about a co-worker’s or supervisor’s sexual harassment or filing an administrative complaint against her employer with the Texas Workforce Commission or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. If the employer takes the adverse action of firing the victim in retaliation, the employee may have a wrongful termination case based on illegal retaliation.
- Constructive termination. In some cases, the sexual harassment can create a hostile work environment—the second type of sexual harassment claim—where the employee may feel forced to quit her job. In this situation, an employee may be entitled to pursue a wrongful termination case based on her constructive termination by her employer.
Were you wrongfully terminated from your job due to sexual harassment? You may have suffered wage losses, loss of promotion opportunities, emotional distress, and more. Attorney Walt Taylor is here to help you obtain the compensation and justice you deserve. Please feel free to contact Walt online or call him directly at 817.380.4888 to schedule your free consultation.
We help workers throughout Texas including Arlington, North Richland, Grapevine, Bedford, Hurst, Euless, Irving and all points in between.