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Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 5171
Experience:  Licensed to practice before state and federal court
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I should I respond if my employer asks me if I have a

Customer Question

I should I respond if my employer asks me if I have a lawyer? At this point, I don't. Still looking. I reported sexual harassment and my employer has turned hostile towards me.
JA: Was the work environment intimidating, hostile, or abusive?
Customer: Yes. I was asked repeatedly why I waited so long to report it. I was told I was a problem and that if the coworker denies the harassment that they would let him go and let me go. Obviously, there is more. I want to be prepared. I believe they are going to ask me to sign a release.
JA: Is the employment "at will," union, full time, or part time?
Customer: at will.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Yes, that they ended up promoting the coworker her harassed me. I found out last Friday.
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Legal Eagle replied 2 months ago.

Hello! I am a licensed attorney, admitted to practice in state and federal court. I have a nearly 100% satisfaction rating so all that means is that you can count on me to help today. The answer to your question is no, you do not have to tell them that you have a lawyer. The law does not require that you tell an employer that you have retained an attorney at all, particularly in the middle of a sexual harassment investigation. Also, if they have become harassing, you may have additional causes of action.

According to the EEOC, “Retaliation occurs when an employer takes a materially adverse action because an applicant or employee asserts rights protected by the EEO laws. Asserting EEO rights is called ‘protected activity.’

In a case alleging that an employer took a materially adverse action because of protected activity, legal proof of retaliation requires evidence that:

  • An individual engaged in prior protected activity;

  • The employer took a materially adverse action; and

  • Retaliation caused the employer's action.”

An employer must not retaliate against an individual for "participating" in an EEO process. This means that an employer cannot punish an applicant or employee for filing an EEO complaint, serving as a witness, or participating in any other way in an EEO matter, even if the underlying discrimination allegation is unsuccessful or untimely.

So, you’ll want to start documenting the things that happened because this appears to be a classic case of retaliation. If they are threatening to let you go, let you go, demote you, or give you demerits, that is going to be a retaliatory action that would be compensable under the law.

Although I provided an initial answer, it’s important that you are 100% satisfied. If you feel I have done so, please rate me 5 stars and let me know if you have any follow up questions. As a side note, you can also click here in the future to request me individually.

Expert:  Legal Eagle replied 2 months ago.

Hello, it’s been awhile since we connected so I wanted to check in with you to see if you had any further questions or if there is anything else I can assist you with today. Please reply here and let me know. Thank you.