Suppose an employee, Jane, works for a company in the United States and experiences discrimination or harassment from a supervisor or coworker. Jane is afraid to report the behavior to her employer because she fears retaliation. However, after experiencing the discrimination or harassment for some time, Jane decides to quit her job and later seeks legal action against the employer.

Are there any federal or state laws that would protect Jane from retaliation, even if she didn't report the discrimination to her employer first? Additionally, are there any cases that have set precedent in similar situations?

Potential references:

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • Supreme Court case: Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway Co. v. White (2006)
  • State laws related to workplace retaliation (e.g., California Labor Code Section 1102.5)
  • 1
    Given that Jane no longer works for the employer, what kind of retaliation are you imagining?
    – bdb484
    Feb 23, 2023 at 15:53
  • 1
    Imagine that after leaving, the employer could spread negative information and blacklist the former employee to other employers, making it difficult for the individual to find a new job.
    – Velma
    Feb 23, 2023 at 16:17

1 Answer 1


This would be a direct discrimination claim, not a retaliation claim. The real issue would be whether there was "construction termination" and whether there were damages (and if so, how much).

It is also worth noting that the statute of limitations for a discrimination claim, which is governed by federal law for the most part, is very short, typically six months from termination of employment or even six months from the discriminatory act.

A retaliation claim is a claim relating to punishment by an employer for reporting discriminatory misconduct (often, misconduct directed at a discrimination victim different from the person who reported the misconduct and is retaliated against). This is not what the question describes.

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