I am an employee in Florida that has been dealing with sexual harrasment for the past year. In recent months the harrasment has gotten out of control, and I am planning on going to the owner of the company to complain about what’s been happening. The reason I haven’t confronted this situation earlier is because I’m afraid of how the owner will react. The employee that has been harassing me has been with the company for 10 years, and she’s about as important as the owner. I’ve been with the company for about a year and a half. Because they are such good friends, I’m afraid that if I bring this to light, this will all blow up in my face and I will end up being fired. My question: If after I report what has been happening to me, nothing is done, can I quit with ‘good reason’ and be able to collect unemployment. I’m planning on meeting with the owner and bringing a letter documenting all the times the manager has harassed me (grabbed my behind, said inappropriate things, etc) and have her sign it as documented proof that the problem was reported. If the manager that harasses me continues to work there, I will never feel comfortable at work. My ultimate goal is to be able to collect unemployment (without being fired) so that I can close this chapter in my life and have the unemployment benefits while I look for new work. Please advise me on the best way to confront this situation.
Thank goodness you’ve decided to finally bring the matter to the attention of the “employer”.
A failure to do so is why so many people can’t do anything later on .. including proving a claim for unemployment.
It all has to do with giving the employer the opportunity to address the problem.
The more documentary evidence you have .. the better your opportunity for showing a discharge was in retaliation.
Sexual harassment is good cause to quit .. but without a trail for others to follow to see proof of it .. it merely becomes an accusation.
I personally, do not feel qualified to provide all the information regarding sexual harassment claims a person needs because it is dealing with an employer’s illegal actions and requires you to protect your civil rights.
Whereas a regular unemployment claims generally only considers whether you lost your job through no fault of your own due to reasons that are quite acceptable within the law .. although often without regard or respect to an individual.
Questions that begin with “is it legal for” “can an employer fire me for” the answer is usually “Yes you are an at will employee”. Your employer can fire you because he/she doesn’t like your funky hairdo.
But can an employer fire you because you complained that your manager touched your butt? That’s another matter all together because it is illegal for an employer to do that or allow that.
Do employers fire people for this? Yes. But now the question becomes .. How do I prove it?
Document, document, document and in a smart way.
For an in depth understanding of how employees can use laws governing their rights in the workplace I recommend this lawyer’s ebook.
It’s a little pricey, but does offer a flexible pay option which comes with a bonus 20 minute phone consultation with a lawyer valued at $90 dollars.
If nothing else this gives you an idea of how much an employment lawyer costs per hour.
It covers a lot more area than just sexual harassment. It tells you how to protect yourself for all kinds of problems associated with being an employee now and in the future.
If more people had this information there would be less people asking me questions about how to collect unemployment benefits:)