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Tennessee employees who report sexual harassment in the workplace and who face retaliation as a result may want to file a lawsuit against an employer. An employee who says she was terminated after she turned down the advances of the owner of the company she worked for was awarded $11.1 million by a jury.

The company, Hologram USA, creates holograms of celebrities who have died. The employee alleged in the lawsuit that the owner had brought a male stripper in to celebrate another colleague’s birthday, made her watch a pornographic video and placed his hand on her leg. The owner denied these claims.

According to the jury, the company either should have been aware or was aware of the harassment and still did nothing, and the employee was wrongfully terminated. The owner will appeal the decision. Another employee has also filed a lawsuit against him for wrongful termination and sexual harassment.

Employees are supposed to be protected against sexual harassment in the workplace as well as other forms of discrimination and harassment. Sexual harassment may involve lewd comments or other behaviors that create a hostile work environment for an employee.

Employees who believe they are facing sexual harassment may want to consult an attorney to discuss their rights. They might want to document each incident and follow the employer’s policy for addressing workplace harassment. Employers are not supposed to retaliate against employees who report harassment. Retaliation may include other actions besides termination, including demotion or being denied a promotion although the employer may try to claim that the retaliatory action is performance-based. If an employer’s response to a complaint of sexual harassment is inadequate, the employee might want to pursue a lawsuit.

Source: Forbes, “Celebrity Hologram Company Owner Ordered To Pay $11M Sexual Harassment Claim After Courtroom Outburst,” Michelle Kaminsky, 4/30/2019