For many survivors, enduring sexual harassment in the workplace is both traumatizing and frustrating. Coping with unwanted sexual advances is already incredibly difficult. Yet, those who muster the courage to report such behavior often find themselves unsupported by their organizations. Instead of receiving help, they face various forms of retaliation.
Retaliation is a brutal reality for those who come forward
Workplace retaliation occurs when an employer punishes an employee for standing up against discrimination and harassment. Punishments include legal action, firing, demoting, denying of promotion or raise, excessive micromanagement or salary deductions.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) states that it’s against the law for employers to retaliate against employees who report harassment, reject sexual advances, or step in to defend others. However, a study reveals that an alarming 72% of those who report sexual harassment experience retaliation. What’s even more concerning is the number of harassers who face no repercussions at all.
Despite the troubling circumstances, it is important to remember that the law protects employees from retaliation. Workers have the right to report sexual harassment without fear of retaliation, and when faced with a lawsuit, can counter with their own.
Fighting workplace retaliation
Every organization may have its own justifications for not backing its employees. These can include having a workplace culture that doesn’t respect personal boundaries, concerns over setting a precedent that results in more cases, lack of awareness regarding retaliation laws or the belief that they set do so without facing legal repercussions.
However, sexual harassment should not remain in the shadows. If your organization is refusing to provide the support you need, an employment law attorney can evaluate your situation and determine whether you have a case. Taking legal action may allow you to recover compensation for the distress and damages you’ve endured.
Obtaining counseling and surrounding yourself with a strong support system may be instrumental in helping you recover from such a difficult situation.