Often, instead of recognizing that they have a problem manager or worker and taking steps to handle the issue, employers will punish an employee who reports sexual harassment. They may try to intimidate the victim through demotion, unwanted job transfer, denial of a deserved raise or other benefit, and so on.
These tactics can go so far as firing the person, simply because he or she spoke up about sexual harassment in the workplace. Though employers are allowed to fire “at-will” employees for nearly any reason, the law prevents termination for purposes of retaliation, or punishing a worker for reporting misconduct.
Firing someone for a reason that is not legally permissible is called wrongful termination. Victims of wrongful termination have the right under California law to sue for damages, such as lost wages.
As with many employment law cases, finding evidence can be difficult, even when you have good reason to believe you were wrongfully terminated. Knowing that firing someone in this way is against the law, employers are often careful to cover their tracks and keep their scheming behind closed doors.
However, you may still have access to evidence, even after you have been shown the door at work. Emails and other correspondence can suggest that you were fired for an impermissible reason, as well as work documents like an employment contract, if you had one. Also, former co-workers may have been witness to conversations and behavior that supports your claim.
An experienced employment law attorney knows where else to look for evidence of wrongful termination.