Fear of retaliation often keeps lid on sexual harassment

Many people have a great need for their jobs. Though the work they do may not be the most ideal, they may rely on their paychecks to meet their needs. Unfortunately, this reliance may make individuals stay in their jobs even if they face mistreatment, or they may fear more mistreatment if they complain about sexual harassment or other misconduct.

For numerous reasons, workers in New York and across the country who do face such unseemly behavior often do not report it. In a study from 2016 conducted by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, numbers were considerably low when it came to victims of harassment making reports. Instances in which individuals were harassed because of their gender were rarely reported, and reports of unwanted physical contact were only made by 8 percent of victims. 

Some of the common reasons that parties do not move forward with filing complaints include fear of retaliation for complaining and fear of not being believed. Unfortunately, this type of situation does take place, and victims may continue to suffer. A study from 2003 showed that approximately 75 percent of individuals who filed complaints relating to mistreatment at work did face retaliation.

It is understandable if people fear that they will lose their much-needed jobs or face other negative actions as a result of their complaints. However, sexual harassment and other misconduct in the workplace should not be condoned. If New York workers do complain and face inaction or additional unfair treatment, they may wish to look into their legal options for seeking justice.

Source: dailyitem.com, “EEOC: Only 10 percent of harassed employees file complaints”, Marcia Moore, March 1, 2018

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