Sexual harassment in the workplace often goes unreported

Workplace sexual harassment has been gaining significant attention recently amidst the #MeToo movement and the media coverage of high-profile perpetrators. With this movement aimed at raising awareness and addressing workplace sexual harassment many employees have become emboldened to come forward and report incidents of harassment. However, despite this positive shift, it appears that often many instances of workplace sexual harassment continue to go unreported.

A recent article written for CNBC looked at the number of victims who reported being subject to sexual harassment versus the percentage of those victims who reported this harassment, and discussed some common reasons why these instances of harassment continue to be so underreported. The poll found that roughly twelve percent of employees reported experiencing sexual harassment at work, but of these, more then 70 percent failed to report the harassment, and more then half did not even confront the perpetrator.

So why is it that nearly three quarters of all workplace harassment incidents go unreported?

Most commonly victims indicated that they did not report instances of harassment because they were fearful of being labeled a troublemaker at work. Other reasons for non-reporting included concern over whether they would be taken seriously where it was their word against the other persons, as well as fear of retaliation such as losing their job. The stigma of shame and fear of consequences often lead to victims failing to report or take any action to address workplace harassment.

It is important for employers to take sexual harassment claims seriously and to do a better job educating employees on issues of sexual harassment. If you have been a victim of workplace sexual harassment there are many steps you can take to report and address this problem, including legal remedies such as filing a complaint with the EEOC. Consultation with an experienced employment law attorney can assist you in addressing any issues of sexual harassment in the workplace.

Source: cnbc.com Why employees say workplace sexual harassment goes unreported, Sarah O’Brien, Jan 19, 2018.

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