All employees have a legal right to work in an environment that is free from harassment of any kind. For the most part, this is something that companies take very seriously.
However, the reality is that a significant number of workers say that they have been sexually harassed at work at some point in their careers. Oftentimes, employees don’t feel as if they can report incidents at the time the harassment occurs. Why is this the case?
A fear of not being believed
Sadly, many victims of sexual harassment are told they are somehow at fault. For instance, if an employee has made inappropriate comment, they may be swept under the rug as “jokes”. But, a comment is not a joke if it makes an employee feel uncomfortable, harassed and degraded. This is why it’s so important that companies take a zero-tolerance stance toward sexual harassment in the first place.
Not knowing where to turn
It’s all well and good for a company to say that it does not tolerate sexual harassment, but this is of little use if management is not set up to deal with complaints. The reality is that victims often simply do not know where to turn when they have been subjected to inappropriate treatment.
Companies must ensure that they have clear guidelines on reporting sexual harassment as well as sensitive and impartial investigatory procedures. If sexual harassment is established, then the company must also be willing to act through appropriate disciplinary measures. Many instances of sexual harassment go unreported because the person on the receiving end is not confident that there will be any consequences.
If you have faced sexual harassment and are dissatisfied with how your employer has dealt with the situation, you do have a host of legal options. Seek legal guidance to find out more.