Over the past several weeks, numerous victims have come forward with allegations of sexual harassment against public figures and many men and women have revealed their personal experiences with sexual harassment on social media as part of the #metoo movement. Some were surprised by the prevalence of sexual harassment in the workplace, but research shows that nearly 80% of women will experience sexual harassment in the workplace at some point during their careers.
Despite its prevalence, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), 3 out of 4 of harassment victims never report the harassing conduct. Research indicates that most victims downplay the gravity of the situation, or attempt to ignore, forget, or endure the behavior.
It also shows that employees didn’t report harassment because employees feared disbelief of their claim, inaction on their claim, blame, or social or professional retaliation. Shockingly, despite increased legal protections, some research shows that failing to report harassment and fears about reporting have gone largely unchanged since 1976.
Victims of illegal harassment should not let fear keep them from reporting inappropriate workplace behavior.
Speaking With a Lawyer About Illegal Harassment Is Confidential
If you contact an attorney about illegal harassment in your workplace, your communication is protected by the attorney-client privilege. Your attorney will keep all of the information regarding your matter confidential. It is your choice about if and how to pursue your claims or to make them public.
Employers Are Prohibited From Retaliating Against Employees for Raising Sexual Harassment Claims
It is illegal for your employer and coworkers to retaliate against you for making a good faith claim of sexual harassment or discrimination. Even if your employer investigates your claims and concludes that there was no sexual harassment, your employer cannot retaliate against you for raising the complaint and/or participating in an investigation.
An Experienced Employment Law Attorney Can Help You Come Up With Solutions
Filing a public lawsuit is not a required course of action. The attorneys at Upton & Hatfield have helped many of our clients file internal complaints of harassment or discrimination. Unlike a court complaint, these complaints may remain confidential (subject to your employer’s policy on such complaints).
There Is a Short Period of Time During Which You Can Bring a Claim
If you have experienced sexual or other unlawful harassment, a hostile work environment, or discrimination at work you may have a small window to file a claim (180 days after the conduct in many cases).
If you are experiencing or have experienced sexual harassment, a hostile work environment, or discrimination at work, an experienced employment law attorney can help you evaluate your options and choose a path forward.