Will my career be hurt if I report an incident of harassment/intimidation?

I had an experience that may have been considered harassment / intimidation by someone of higher authority. I recently left the organization, and I am considering reporting the incident to the company’s compliance hotline. I don’t wish to litigate or get anything from reporting this - I just want to try to prevent this leader from harassing others in the future.

Do I have anything to be concerned about with regard to my career progression and opportunities by filing this incident? Thank you!

1 answer  |  asked Aug 1, 2019 12:06 PM [EST]  |  applies to Pennsylvania

Answers (1)

Neil Klingshirn
Disclaimer: I am licensed to practice law only in Ohio and answer your question only with general legal information and personal observation.

First, it is impossible to answer your question without context and because it asks to predict the future. In other words, who knows if an anonymous report will hurt your career progression?

Second, from a legal perspective, if an employer took adverse action against a former employee for posting an anonymous complaint of unlawful discrimination, federal anti-discrimination law prohibits that. Therefore, if you in good faith believe that the harassment you are reporting is unlawful, and your former employer harms your career as a result, you would probably have a claim for retaliation.

Based on experience, though, I believe employers want to know about employee misconduct and, as a result, have little incentive to track down and punish those who report it. At best, they would use the information to comply with their obligation to provide a non-hostile workplace. At worst, they would use the information to cover it up.

If they cover up discrimination an let it continue, someday someone may sue them and discover your hotline report, which could serve as evidence of a fair warning that they ignored.

posted by Neil Klingshirn  |  Aug 1, 2019 12:50 PM [EST]

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