A 32-year-old New York man who was fired from a Lowe’s location in August 2014 after 11 years of employment is suing the company. According to him, he was fired in retaliation for testifying in support of a gay employee who sued the same store for harassment in 2012. He also says that he put up with a pattern of harassment himself throughout his employment, that it worsened after he testified in support of his fellow employee and that repeated efforts to solve the harassment issue through human resources went nowhere.
The man’s co-worker had brought his suit based on his claims that he had endured sex-based harassment during his employment. In April 2014, that case was settled. One month later, the individual who is bringing the current suit says he was written up for various infractions after four years without any such action.
The man’s attorney says that it is surprising that after one suit, the store did not do more to prevent further sexual harassment of its employees. Lowe’s had no comment on the case.
Employees who feel that they are victims of workplace harassment or discrimination should first try to go through channels at work as the individual did in this case. Businesses are required to protect their employees from harassment due to things like race, religion, gender and nationality. Harassment generally means actions that create an ongoing hostile work environment for an individual. If the business is not responsive to an individual’s complaints, that individual may wish to consult an attorney. Employers are also not permitted to retaliate against employees for complaining about discrimination and harassment. Retaliation may mean actions such as being denied a raise or promotion as well as being fired.
Source: USA Today, “Gay ex-Lowe’s employee alleges discrimination”, Lee Higgins, Jan. 12, 2015