What are my rights when demoted from position after I submitting a verbal sexual harassment claim to management?

Asked about 2 years ago - Phoenix, AZ

I work at Olive Garden. I reported a female for sexual harassing me at work and out of work. No written report was given for me to sign and nothing came of it but that female being promoted a week later.

The female apologized to me for her behavior and would text me late at night. After her promotion I didn't know what to do, so I tried to play nice. She made advances toward me again a 2 weeks ago, and I polietely declined them. Two days later she notifies me she went to management with some text messages I had sent that were not incriminating on my part, but I was demoted and told the reasons for the demotion they were not allowed to discus with me.

What are my options?

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Nathan Kased

    Contributor Level 12

    Answered . Many questions come to mind. Were you having any performance problems prior to your demotion? If so, were these documented? If management decided to demote you based on its perception that your work performance was unsatisfactory (accurate or not), then you would have no legal recourse to contest the demotion.

    Another important consideration is who made the decision to demote you. If this female coworker became your manager by virtue of her promotion and decided to demote you for your prior sexual harassment complaint against her (when you two were coworkers), then perhaps you would have a retaliation claim. Otherwise, if the decision-maker was someone else, the connection between your prior complaint against the female coworker and your demotion appears to be a tenuous one (unless there are exceptional circumstances you have not revealed here).

    As to the complaint your female coworker reported, did management or HR ever question you about the text messages you sent to her? Do you think you may have violated company policy in any way by sending them? If you were the subject of a workplace investigation, at minimum you should have been afforded a meaningful opportunity to tell your side of the story. If you were not afforded a chance to explain what happened and demoted as a result of your female coworker's seemingly fabricated complaint, then it appears as though you have a legitimate gripe. However, even these circumstances may not be sufficient to support any viable legal claim.

    Your best bet is to consult with a knowledgeable employment lawyer licensed in your area. You have not provided enough facts here to permit a thorough evaluation of your potential claims.

  2. Kevin Rindler Madison


    Contributor Level 18

    Answered . Time to go visit with an employment rights attorney who handles SEXUAL HARASSMENT cases now.

    If this information has been helpful, please indicate below. I hope my information is helpful to you. If you think... more
  3. Harry Edward Hudson Jr

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . See a sexual harassment attorney, file with state labor and EEOC.

    The above is not intended as legal advice. The response does not constitute the creation of an attorney client... more

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