Understanding the Facts of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
Written by Cooper and Friedman on July 26, 2018
Sexual harassment in the workplace encompasses any unwanted sexual behavior that interferes with an individual’s employment. Any advance (verbal or physical) as well as an exchange for sexual favors, that is unwelcome and takes place at work, is considered sexual harassment. Sexual harassment on the job is prevalent in many service-based industries where employees rely on approval from others as well as low wage jobs where they lack the agency to fight back. However, sexual harassment can happen anywhere and to anyone.
While it is common for those who have experienced workplace sexual harassment to avoid confronting the situation, it is illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee for coming forward or taking any action whatsoever. Under the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, harassment is a violation and a form of sex discrimination.
The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for enforcing federal discrimination laws. In 2015, they conducted a study on harassment in the workplace. Below are some surprising facts pertaining to harassment in the workplace from the report they released in 2016.
At least one in four women have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace.
When given a clear definition of sexual harassment in the workplace, the rate of reports rises as high as 75%.
Men also experience harassment. The amount of reports received between 1990 and 2009 for example, doubled from 8% to 16%.
Three out of four employees who experience harassment do not take any formal action.
“75% of employees who spoke out against workplace mistreatment faced some form of retaliation.”
“Sexual harassment of women is more likely to occur in workplaces that have primarily male employees.”
Research shows that sexual harassment is more common when power disparities are present.
When it comes to dealing with sexual harassment, it is important to know your rights as well as understand your employer’s protocol and policies. There are both state and federal laws in place that protect employees from sexual harassment in the workplace. Depending on the action the company takes, employers may be liable for compensation. However, documentation is key in evaluating harassment cases. Consult with a knowledgeable attorney if your complaints or concerns have not been addressed. They can help determine the best course of action to take.
If you or someone you know has been a victim of harassment in Kentucky or Southern Indiana, contact us today. The experienced attorneys at Cooper and Friedman recently obtained $600,000 for a woman who claimed she was sexually assaulted on a job site. For additional information, or to schedule your free consultation with us, call 502-459-7555 now.