A recent lawsuit filed by former anchor Gretchen Carlson against Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes has sparked a national discussion on workplace sexual harassment. Given the high profile case and a growing number of allegations against Ailes, many people may be wondering how frequently women experience workplace sexual harassment.
The research website YouGov.com released a poll claiming 29 percent of American women have experienced workplace sexual harassment. In comparison, 12 percent of men reported experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace. Only 37 percent of survey participants who experienced sexual harassment notified their superiors or took legal action.
YouGov’s poll shows that a striking number of people who have experienced sexual harassment are reluctant to report the behavior. This means they could continue to be victimized.
Why Might Women Be Afraid of Reporting Workplace Sexual Harassment?
According to a researcher with the American Bar Foundation, women may fear reprisal from reporting sexual harassment. Unfortunately, these fears are not unfounded. Women who experience quid pro quo sexual harassment may be afraid of damage to their careers or reputation. Quid pro quo means ‘this for that’. Employers guilty of quid pro quo sexual harassment may offer workers increased pay or prestige at work in return for sexual favors.
Sexual harassment creates a hostile workplace for affected workers. Victims are sometimes fired or demoted. In some cases, supervisors are responsible for sexual harassment, so where can employees turn?
The truth is, workers experiencing sexual harassment (of any gender) have several options and legal protections. Workers can follow company procedures for reporting workplace sexual harassment, such as contacting human resources. In addition, women can report sexual harassment to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (also known as the EEOC) or contact an employment law attorney to discuss additional options. We have also recently published a blog discussing steps workers can take after experiencing sexual harassment.
The Los Angeles employment law attorneys at the Law Offices of Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob can help workers who have been harmed by workplace sexual harassment.