When supervisors are informed about incidents of sexual harassment in the workplace, they are required under California and federal laws to address the complaints. Sexual harassment in the workplace is illegal and harmful, and when this type of inappropriate behavior is not handled appropriately by employees’ supervisors and employers, work environments may become hostile and unbearable.

In order to prevent this from happening at Walt Disney Co., an archivist followed the law and the company’s policies by reporting a sexual harassment complaint to the company’s human resources department after an employee had informed the archivist that he had been sexually harassed by a female employee. The archivist thought that he was doing the right thing by making sure his subordinate’s complaint was properly handled by the company, but instead, the archivist was fired by Disney. The man is now suing his former employer.

The former Disney employee’s lawsuit was filed last week in Los Angeles. The man began working for Disney in 2007. He was a valuable employee who had helped to archive about 6,000 items that had remained unidentified for years, he wrote articles for the company and even restored artifacts for Disney. However, everything changed for the man in 2011.

One of the employee’s subordinates reported that he had been sexually harassed by a female employee. The archivist addressed the complaint and reported the issue to Disney’s human resources department. After handling the complaint, the subordinate reported another incident of sexual harassment and the archivist reported the issue to human resources again.

After the sexual harassment complaints were investigated by Disney, Disney fired the archivist. The archivist was fired for allegedly failing to fill out the proper paperwork when he hired the subordinate who had later reported the sexual harassment. The archivist learned that he was also fired because the company believed that the archivist had lied while the company investigated the sexual harassment complaints.

The former archivist is suing Disney for retaliation. He believes he was illegally fired for raising concerns about sexual harassment in the workplace.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “Former Disney archivist alleges retaliation in firing,” Dawn C. Chmielewski, Feb. 27, 2013