Sexual harassment in the workplace can take on any number of different forms, but if you are like many other victims of this type of behavior, you may have decided not to report it. Maybe you had fears about how your supervisors and colleagues would react to your accusations, or maybe you grew concerned people would not believe you.
Regardless of your reasoning for not sharing your story, The Mercury News reports that you are not alone in your decision not to do so. Regrettably, many victims of workplace sexual harassment are hesitant to come forward, and those who do develop the courage to speak out about their treatment frequently face retaliation or termination after doing so.
A pervasive problem
According to a study of more than 46,000 sexual harassment claims made within a recent four-year period, about 64 percent of American workers who called attention to workplace sexual harassment lost their jobs within one year. While this number suggests a serious, pervasive problem exists within American work environments, so, too, does the fact that about 68 percent of workers who reported instances of sexual harassment experienced retaliation at work soon after.
Retaliation in the workplace, too, can take on many different forms, but it may include your employer demoting you, reassigning you to a less favorable position or changing your schedule around to include less-desirable hours, among other examples. Essentially, any attempts your employer, supervisors or colleagues make to make your work day more difficult or uncomfortable may constitute retaliation.
Females are common victims
Though both men and women experience sexual harassment in the workplace, women continue to undergo victimization more frequently than men. Though women account for fewer than 50 percent of today’s workforce, they file more than 80 percent of work-related sexual harassment claims.
Your employer does not have the right to retaliate against you for calling attention to sexual harassment. If he or she does so, you may be able to hold him or her accountable.