Can I sue my past employer regarding harassment by a co-worker and is it worth it?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can I sue my past employer regarding harassment by a co-worker and is it worth it?

I was being harassed by a co-worker and verbally complained many times to my supervisor about it. I had more than 1 meeting with management as well so they knew very well my concerns. Nothing ever came from my complaints and nothing changed about the harassment. This person eventually claimed that I verbally threatened them and I was fired. I am a male and the coworker that was harassing me was a female. I believe I was treated unfairly due to my gender.

Asked on September 9, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Wisconsin


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

IF you believe you can prove that the treatment was *because* you were male and she was female, *and* that the employer let her do this because the employer was discriminating against men, then you would have a worthwhile legal cause of action since you were fired; the best way to explore it, however, is probably to contact your state equal/civil rights agency or the federal EEOC to file a sex-based employment discrimination claim. Those agencies can give you a good idea of whether our claim is valid or not, and potentially help you get compensation without you having to go to the time, trouble, and expense of litigation. 
Bear in mind that if she simply disliked you personally, and management took her side, not yours, due to personal dislike, or her being related to someone else in the company, or her being a better performer or more senior than you, that is not discrimination: the fact that you were two different sexes does not, by itself, make this discrimination. The negative behavior must have been motivated by your sex for there to be a valid claim.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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