While this isn’t happening here in San Francisco, California, the news of four female employees coming forward to hold Virginia State University responsible for what they allege is sexual harassment, retaliation and unequal pay is a big deal. Geography doesn’t matter in this case.
The story details a number of terrible behaviors by a school vice president. The man made unwanted sexual advances towards one female employee, and when she turned down his advances, she was soon moved out of her job and into another one, she says. Another woman says that same vice president lost out on a promotion because she rejected his sexual advances.
When these women brought theirs claims to the school and other higher-ups, they were ignored and little was done to address the sexual harassment and retaliation that was occurring. They also allege that their pay is significantly lower than other male employees who have the same job. They are suing, along with two other women, VSU for the offenses.
It’s a sad fact, but retaliation claims are often paired with sexual harassment claims because the offending person takes the rejection as an affront, and in response they illegally lash out and retaliate against the employee. It’s disgusting and it shouldn’t happen, but there is certainly a connection between these two workplace offenses.
Anyone who is sexually harassed or faces retaliatory action — or both — should not be afraid to talk to a lawyer. Your employers have no right to retaliate against you, especially if someone has sexually harassed you.
Source: CBS 6, “4 female employees sue VSU for alleged gender pay discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliation,” Melissa Hipolit, May 18, 2016