Despite efforts to stop sexual harassment in the workplace, sexual harassment continues to be a problem. Anyone can be the victim of sexual harassment at work, making it difficult to focus on doing your job. The #MeToo movement and the recent Harvey Weinstein case have highlighted how pervasive sexual harassment in the workplace continues to be. During these uncertain economic times, employees may be less willing to bring sexual harassment claims to the forefront. However, it is wise to understand what type of protections are available to employees who experience sexual harassment. Here are six facts every Alabama employee should know about sexual harassment in the workplace.
Employees May be Hesitant to Report Sexual Harassment
It is difficult to understand how prevalent sexual harassment is in reality because many victims are hesitant to bring forth claims. Employees are understandably concerned about losing their jobs, being demoted, or suffering more harassment should they bring a sexual harassment claim against their employer.
Even though harassment claims are supposed to be somewhat anonymous, there is a chance that information will spread around the workplace, causing the victim to experience stigma among his or her co-workers. The victim is often unfairly labeled as “hard to work with.” Unfortunately, many employers failed to take the necessary action to stock the sexual harassment. The perpetrator may go on harassing the victim and other co-workers.
The Majority of Women Have Been Subjected to Sexual Harassment
Being the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace can feel isolating. Many of our clients feel alone and like they may be one of only a few people who have gone through this experience. However, sexual harassment in the workplace is far more common than most people realize. According to a survey conducted by NPR, 81% of women and 43% of men in the workplace admitted that they had been sexually harassed at some point during their careers. The study found that 34% of men and 77% of women have experienced verbal sexual harassment.
The study also found that 17% of men and 51% of women have experienced some form of unwanted sexual touching. Cyber sexual harassment has also become more common, especially as more employees work from home during the coronavirus pandemic. The survey found that 41% of women and 22% of men reported being cyber sexually harassed. Those numbers are likely higher now that more people are working from home.
Companies Need to Demonstrate How Serious They are About Preventing Harassment
Sometimes people assume that it is managers or employers who are engaging in the sexual harassment of their subordinate employees. This is not always the case. A colleague, contractor, co-worker, or even a customer can engage in sexual harassment. When companies try to prevent sexual harassment by workplace policies, they should attempt to stop sexual harassment from everyone involved. More companies than ever are trying to put policies in place to stop sexual harassment. Unfortunately, some of these policies lack any teeth because human resources departments do not enforce them. Even when an employee files a valid sexual harassment claim, employers may ignore it or not take actionable steps to stop the harassment.
Quitting Right Away Could Damage Your Legal Claim
Understandably, victims of sexual harassment often want to quit their jobs as soon as possible. Undergoing harassment is emotionally and mentally exhausting. However, quitting before you file a claim could hurt your chances of recovering compensation through a sexual harassment claim. You may forfeit your right to file a lawsuit later because you are not considered an employee of the company anymore after you quit. If you need to quit, it is best to file a sexual harassment claim first and participate in the investigation before you quit. The best thing you can do is speak to an experienced employment lawyer who will advise you of your rights.
You Need an Experienced Alabama Sexual Harassment Lawyer on Your Side
Have you experienced sexual harassment at an Alabama workplace? If so, it is worth taking the time to discuss your case with an experienced sexual harassment lawyer. At Heninger Garrison Davis, Our employment lawyers have helped many clients successfully bring sexual harassment claims. We can help you navigate the process while protecting your rights. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation.