Can an employer in Montana fire an employee if they report them for sexual harassment?
If an employer in Montana decides to fire an employee because he/she reported them for sexual harassment, they may have the grounds to take legal action against them for doing so. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), sexual harassment is considered a form of discrimination that violates the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, however, Title VII only applies to employers who have 15 or more employees working for them.
If an employer fires an employee because they reported them for sexual harassment and that employer has 15 or more employees, they are not only violating Title VII, but also Montana Code Annotated 49-2-301. According to Montana law, it is considered an unlawful discriminatory practice for an employer to discharge an employee because he/she “has opposed any practices forbidden [under the law]” or “because the individual has filed a complaint.”
Therefore, if an employer threatens to fire an employee if they choose to file a harassment complaint against them or they already fired an employee because they did file a complaint, that employee is going to want to speak with a Montana sexual harassment attorney.
What legal remedies are available to an employee who was sexually harassed by their employer?
Despite what an employer might tell an employee, it is illegal for them to fire an employee for filing a sexual harassment complaint as per the laws stated above. Therefore, if someone was harassed at work and fired for reporting it, they may be able to bring a civil lawsuit against their employer. It is worth noting that civil matters do differ from criminal matters as civil lawsuits don’t lead to criminal charges. Instead, a civil lawsuit can be used to sue an employer and recognize them for their unlawful behavior.
Additionally, a civil lawsuit will also allow an employee or former employee to request that their employer provide them with damages. Damages is a legal term that refers to financial relief. The types of damages that are awarded in civil matters depends on the type of case that is being filed. When it comes to cases stemming from sexual harassment in the workplace, an individual may be entitled to recover the following damages:
- Lost income
- Loss of earning capacity
- Mental anguish
- Medical expenses (e.g. therapy)
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
How can an employee file a civil lawsuit against their employer in Montana?
Before an employee decides to take legal action against their employer, they should schedule a time to speak with a Montana sexual harassment attorney as they will be able to determine if they have a valid case. Given they do, a Montana sexual harassment attorney will be able to assist them with initiating the lawsuit process as well as help them through it. If an individual works in Billings, Missoula, Great Falls, or any other city in the State of Montana, USAttorneys.com is here to help them find a sexual harassment law firm in their area that is prepared to help them with their matter.
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