Sexual harassment in the workplace is getting an especially large amount of media attention in recent months, but many still don’t recognize crucial concepts about this important issue. Here is a look at just a few essential truths that everyone should understand about this serious workplace crime.
4 Things You Need to Know about Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
- Sexual harassment is extremely common: Some people might believe that sexual harassment is mostly a thing of the past, but the truth is that despite some progress, harassment is still very common. Multiple surveys have found that roughly one in three working women has experienced sexual harassment at work. Some surveys put the number even higher for certain forms of harassment.
- There are many kinds of harassment: Sexual harassment is an umbrella term for any unwanted comments, advances or suggestions that are sexual in nature. It can also include crude or offensive comments about a person’s gender. An employer or coworker does not have to make a direct sexual advance to be guilty of this crime.
- Most cases are never reported: Most sexual harassment victims never report their harasser. A poll by HuffPost/YouGov found that roughly 70 percent of cases go unreported. This is a sign that the problem is far more common than it might appear.
- It’s illegal for your employer to punish you for reporting: One of the reasons that these issues are so rarely reported is because employees are worried that their employer will retaliate by firing them, cutting their hours or generally making life more difficult. Workplace retaliation is against the law, however. An employer is forbidden from punishing an employee for reporting sexual harassment, regardless of what the court decides about the validity of the complaint.