Can my employer retaliate against me if I file a sexual harassment complaint in DuPage, IL?


DuPage, Illinois – All employees in the state of Illinois are protected against discrimination in the workplace and that includes sexual harassment. Everyone has the right to a safe workplace, but few know how to deal with such a terrible situation. Most sexual harassment case in DuPage county, as well as in the rest of the state, go unreported because the victims are afraid to speak out. There’s a lot of shame involved, but mostly there’s the fear their employer might retaliate against them. However, if you reach out to an experienced sexual harassment lawyer in DuPage county, they will tell you that you have nothing to fear. On the contrary, if your employer takes disciplinary measures against you, demotes or fires you, they’re only making things worse for themselves. 

Whether you work in a private company or a public institution, your rights are protected under the Illinois Human Rights Act, as well as under the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

What do I need to do if I am sexually harassed at work?

If you need to ask this, your employer clearly doesn’t do a good job at preventing sexual harassment in the workplace. At the very least, they should have a procedure in place so any employee knows exactly what to do if they are harassed by a supervisor or by their coworkers. 

Just say No

If you talk to a lawyer who specializes in sexual harassment, they will tell you that the first thing you need to do is say No

For instance, if one of your coworkers doesn’t miss a chance to fondle you or make a sexually-charged comment, your normal reaction would be to avoid that person or to blush and leave the room in a hurry. That is not enough, though. You need to tell them out loud that you find their behavior offensive and ask them to stop. If there are other people present, so much the better. They could be called upon to testify if your complaint goes to trial. Just as you don’t have to be afraid of retaliation, they have nothing to fear either. According to state law, they are protected against retaliation. If your employer takes any measures against them, the conflict may escalate to the point where your boss will have to pay damages not only to you, but also to those who testified on your behalf. 

Talk to the HR

The next step is to inform the HR department, your supervisor or your manager. They are required to look into your complaint and inform you of their findings as soon as possible.

File a complaint

If your employer doesn’t take any action against those responsible, your lawyer will help you file a complaint with the Human Rights Commission or with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, if they feel it’s better to take it up to federal level. They will conduct their own investigation into your case and attempt a mediation between you and your employer. Practically, they will try to negotiate a settlement to compensate you for you suffering, but also for your lost wages, in case your boss fires you. 

If you need to speak to a local lawyer with extensive knowledge in employment law and sexual harassment cases, contact the O’Toole Law Firm, LLC and schedule a free consultation.  

Phone: 312-815-6330

Toll Free: 844-636-2456

1931 Rohlwing Rd. / Suite C, Rolling Meadows, IL 60008

150 S. Wacker Dr./ Suite 2400, Chicago, IL 60606

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