Workers often perceive human resource departments as safe places to report workplace problems, such as sexual harassment. However, those feelings might be misplaced. HR departments often prioritize protecting employers over employees by preventing or policing investigations regarding allegations of sexual harassment and other forms of workplace discrimination.
Since sexual harassment is a clearly defined form of workplace discrimination, employers in Wisconsin can be held responsible for any damages their female workers suffer. For many employers, HR departments are the first lines of defense against these accusations. While these departments may not be particularly effective at resolving issues of workplace harassment, in the past they have been able to limit the number of victims who feel as if they can take legal action.
HR is supposed to not only deal with allegations of sexual harassment, but should also provide preventative training in the workplace. A study from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found that HR departments are not performing this aspect of the job very well, either. Most of the preventative sexual harassment training performed in the past 30 years has not worked at all. The fact that HR both fails at preventing sexual harassment and often tries to obstruct victims might be one of the reasons that an estimated 85% of victims never even report their experiences.
Workplace discrimination is a serious and widespread issue that not only affects victims, but also alters the moods of many workplaces. Despite this, HR departments often fail to protect workers who have experienced sexual harassment or other types of discrimination. Just because a person's HR department did not provide much help does not mean that he or she cannot take legal action against an employer, either current or former. However, since an HR rep might have provided inaccurate information, speaking with an experienced Wisconsin attorney could prove helpful.