Tangible Employment Action

Tangible Employment Action

If an employer treats a worker unfairly, the employee may file a lawsuit. Typically, an employer’s improper behavior is termed a tangible employment action.

The most blatant tangible employment action is termination, which almost always hurts the employee.

Tangible employment actions impact the employee’s legal rights. The willingness and capacity of an employee to sue his/her employer and succeed in court and the type of tangible employment action depends on whether the employee can reclaim damages caused by their employer.

What Is Tangible Employment?

Any type of activity that significantly alters a person’s employment status is referred to as a tangible employment action.

The following are examples of important changes: termination, hiring, refusal of a promotion, reassignment with different responsibilities, suspension, demotion, loss of salary, economic harm, pay increase, promotion, change in working circumstances, or even a huge change in benefits.

It indicates that an employee took some action against his/her employer, which would often harm the employee.

Overview Of Tangible Employment Action

An adverse effect at work/the workplace, like termination, suspension, or downgrade, is referred to as an employment action. A particular business activity supports the representative’s case when a worker alleges an administrator has victimized or angered them.

This includes dismissal, a noteworthy change in benefits, a promotion, a downgrade, reassignment, and suspension. It also includes financial harm, payment loss, salary increment, changes to the working environment, and essentially altering a representative’s duties. In essence, it means that a person’s boss took some action against them.

Additionally, that action typically hurts that person. Nevertheless, changing the status of the firm occasionally benefits that person. A promotion or pay raise would serve as an example.

A “term of craftsmanship” is what professionals in the legal field refer to as noteworthy economic activity. Attorneys use these phrases to refer to some acceptable norms. For instance, “twofold danger” suggests that a person cannot be charged with the same offense twice.

#1. Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment

Quid pro quo sexual harassment is one form of harassment that is related to a tangible employment action. This typically occurs when an employer offers sexual advances to their employee for a promotion.

When an employee engages in sexual favors and receives a promotion from their employer. Even though the employee, in this case, wasn’t dismissed, they still have a claim of sexual harassment. And the tangible employment action, in this case, is the promotion.

Employers are held accountable whenever a workplace harassment complaint involves a tangible employment action. Therefore, the employer simply needs to show that the illicit harassment and tangible employment action occurred.

When an employer in a position of authority uses that power to get a sexual favor in return (from an employee), the law protects that employee. If an employee experiences adversities like being fired, demoted, suspended, etc, the employee can sue the employer.

However, employment in the United States is subject to change. When an employee is employed at will, they can fire them for any reason as long as it’s not unlawful or discriminatory.

#2. Hostile Work Environment

A hostile work environment is another form of harassment that is related to a tangible employment action.

Again, a hostile work environment is frequently a result of copious and severe harassment that progresses to become legal harassment.

There is no need for taking tangible employment action in a hostile workplace. The fact that your harassment was so copious and severe is enough.

Sometimes, charges of a hostile work environment may not be entirely attributed to the employers, and the company may raise the defense to shield itself.

The business may assert that the employer took reasonable steps to prevent and address harassment. And that the employee may have failed to an unreasonable point to take advantage of the reasonable steps that the employer provided to prevent harm.

It will not hold the company liable for the employee’s accusations of harassment if the company can show that it did everything possible to create and maintain a healthy work environment.

Who Can Impose a Tangible Employment Action?

Mostly, employers are to impose tangible employment actions.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC); a body in charge of looking into employment violations, asserts that a person is qualified to be an employee’s supervisor if he or she has the authority to make tangible employment decisions about the employee’s employment.

What this means is that the supervisor has the authority to reassign, fire you, demote you, or impose any negative employment actions against you.

Even though it might not be clear, it’s crucial to keep in mind that your employer handles the decisions made by your supervisor.

This is because, in the past, several employers defended themselves by denying that they didn’t know of any discrimination against an employee that led to an adverse employment action.

Currently, the US Supreme Court holds employers accountable for both the good and bad actions of their supervisors.

If a supervisor violates employment laws through their dumb actions, the employer is held accountable.

As an employer, it’s important to keep in mind that your Human Resources unit can sue for a tangible employment action, and in most circumstances, your supervisor will do so.

Your supervisor may occasionally involve the Human Resources unit, though. The Human Resources unit continues to assess your performance evaluations and consider your supervisor’s suggestions.

Companies have various strategies they used to delegate power to take tangible employment actions. However, the crucial thing is that once a negative employment action is taken, the company has the authority to take recourse.

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When Does Harassment Violate Federal Law?

Harassment is deemed illegal under federal law if it involves discrimination based on color, race, sex (with or without sexual conduct), national origin, religion, age, disabilities, genetic status, the employee’s opposition to job discrimination, or even when the employee takes part in an investigation or complaint process under a different status of the EEO.

The law doesn’t consider casual remarks, teasing, or isolated incidents that aren’t serious.

For a behavior to be taken into consideration by the law, it must be severe or frequent enough to foster a hostile work environment or lead to a tangible employment action, such as termination, hiring, promotion, demotion, and so forth

Can Failure to Promote an Employee Be A Tangible Employment Action?

Most often, when an employer cannot promote an employee, people wonder if this makes up a tangible employment action. Yes, it is because delaying a promotion that is because of an employee makes up an important change in employment status.

As a result, the choice not to promote an employee is regarded as a tangible employment action.

Much like other tangible employment actions, failing to promote the employee is only a part of the issue. The employee is usually required to prove that the reason the promotion was denied was unlawful.

To compensate the employee for the damage they have endured at the hands of the employer is the primary aim in practically every case involving tangible employment actions.

How Should an Employee Sue the Employer When Denied Promotion?

It is important to note that before suing their company to recover losses sustained, an employee should first consult with an employment lawyer.

Additionally, the employee should know there is a strong likelihood that the employer may retaliate if they file a case while they are still working. The law shields an employee from employer retribution because the latter may occasionally attempt it.

Even worse, the employer can start adding negative reviews to the worker’s file to establish a paper trail supporting a termination.

It is advised that the employee keeps a capable employment attorney to defend them at this point for the case to be successful. If the employee has decided to quit the present job, then they should think about suing to retrieve lost wages.

Bottom Line

Any employee who experiences a tangible employment action can sue their employee.

To guarantee that the employee receives full compensation for the harm sustained at the hands of the employer, a qualified employment lawyer will evaluate the employee’s circumstances and walk the person through the choices available to him/her.


What is the first thing an employee experiencing harassment should do?

Any employee that’s facing any type of harassment should first notify his/her employer about it.

How can an employer correct harassment?

Employers can stop harassment by enforcing prompt disciplinary actions that are equivalent to the gravity of the offense.

Who is an employer liability supervisor?

Any person with the power to suggest tangible employment decisions that have an impact on an employee is referred to in this context as a supervisor.

How might harassment result in a tangible employment action?

When a supervisor demotes or fires an employee for refusing his/her sexual advances, or when he/she promotes an employee for giving in to those requests, harassment becomes a tangible employment action.



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