If you are dealing with harassment at work, it may seem unbearable. You may feel your only option to get the harassment to stop is to quit your job. It’s not uncommon to hear from workers in Iowa about harassment that was so bad they reached a breaking point and quit and then want to bring a lawsuit against their former employer for that harassment.
Quitting can have serious consequences for bringing a lawsuit, however, so before making that decision it’s important to consider a few things.
First, only certain kinds of harassment are illegal. Iowa does not have a general “anti-bullying” or “anti-harassment” law. Be aware that just because you are treated poorly in the workplace, it does not mean that you can automatically bring a harassment claim against your employer.
Instead, workplace harassment in Iowa is only illegal if the harasser is targeting you because of your race, age, sex, sexual orientation, religion, disability, or other similar classifications. Having a mean boss doesn’t necessarily mean you have a harassment claim.
For example, if your employer yells, berates, mocks, or otherwise treats you badly because of your political beliefs – while this is not good behavior, it is not illegal. However, if your employer harasses you because of your religion or because of your sex, then you are being harassed because you belong to a protected class and you may have a claim.
Second, while you may be able to bring a case against your employer for having experienced the harassment itself, if you also want to sue your employer because your job ended due to the harassment, then quitting can make that case a lot harder to bring.
Generally speaking, in order to sue your employer for termination you have to prove that the decision to end the employment was the employer’s decision. If you quit, there are additional hurdles you have to overcome to still have a case against your employer for the ending of your employment.
Under the law, you would have to prove that the situation was so unbearable that any reasonable person would think they had no other choice but to quit. This is a high burden and is very dependent on the facts of your individual case.
The bottom line is that you should talk to an experienced Iowa harassment lawyer before you decide to quit your job. An attorney may be able to advise you as to what steps you need to take while you are still employed to either make the harassment stop or to make sure you are properly documenting the harassment so your claim can be proven down the road.
RSH Legal offers a free, no-obligation case evaluation to Iowans who are victims of workplace harassment. To schedule your free consultation, call 1-800-433-0283.
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