‘Fear’ didn’t justify late sex harassment complaint

A worker who waited five months to complain to her employer that a co-worker was sexually harassing her can’t sue the company, even though she said she waited so long because she was afraid of retaliation. That’s the result of a federal appeals court ruling from Washington, D.C. The employer’s sex harassment policy told employees to report harassment immediately to an EEO manager. But instead of complaining right away, the worker simply posted the company’s sex harassment policy on her door. She says the co-worker warned her that if she complained about him to management, no one would believe her, and people would think that she was the problem.

 However, the court said that the worker’s fear of reporting the harassment wasn’t reasonable. It said the only person who discouraged her from reporting it was the co-worker, and he wasn’t her supervisor, didn’t threaten her with any adverse employment action, and had no other leverage with which to intimidate her.