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Filing a harassment claim without being in a protected class

On Behalf of | Feb 28, 2024 | Employment Law

Harassment in any form is unacceptable, and it is always important to address it promptly and correctly. However, employment law provides specific safeguards for members of protected classes who are frequently targeted by discriminatory behavior.

This raises the question of what will happen if you try to file a harassment claim without being a member of a protected class.

Understanding harassment

Before considering a harassment claim in the first place, it is important to understand what harassment entails. Harassment involves unwelcome conduct based on protected characteristics such as race, gender, religion, disability or age. While these are common protected classes, harassment can occur outside of these categories as well.

Potential outcomes

When filing a harassment claim without being in a protected class, the response from your employer or the relevant authority may vary. Here are some potential outcomes:

  • Investigation: Your employer’s investigation aims to gather evidence and determine the validity of your claim.
  • Mediation: In some cases, mediation may occur between you and the alleged harasser.
  • Disciplinary Action: If the investigation substantiates your claim of harassment, the perpetrator may face disciplinary action.
  • Continued Harassment: There is an unfortunate possibility that your employer will not take your complaint seriously if you are not in a protected class, leading to further harassment without consequences for the perpetrator.

While you may not belong to a protected class, there may still be avenues for legal recourse if the harassment violates company policies or local regulations. This could involve filing a complaint with relevant labor authorities or seeking advice from a legal professional.

Importance of documentation

Regardless of whether you belong to a protected class or not, documenting instances of harassment is very important. Keep records of dates, times and details of the incidents. This can strengthen your case and provide evidence during investigations or legal proceedings.

There are few certainties if you decide to file a harassment claim without being in a protected class. The process may differ from cases involving protected classes, but it is still in your best interest to take quick action against wrongful behavior in the workplace.