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Employer retaliation for sexual harassment complaints is common

TB Robinson Law Group

For Texans who have been subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace, it takes great fortitude to speak up. This is done knowing how it can negatively impact their future. Even though the #metoo movement and other public campaigns encouraging victims to be heard has resulted in progress, some still face retaliation on the job after they have complained. This is also a violation that might warrant compensation.

Study shows how prevalent retaliation is after harassment complaints

A recent study from the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund found that more than 70% of those who complained about sexual harassment faced workplace retaliation. Time’s Up examined more than 3,300 requests for assistance it received from the beginning of 2018 through April 2020. Seven out of 10 said they subsequently faced retaliation. In addition, the harassment caused employees to suffer from mental health issues, physical problems and economic challenges. Often, people faced more than one kind of harassment. Statistically, 36% were fired; 19% received a negative evaluation on their performance or received other forms of poor treatment; 29% said reporting the harassment did not do any good; and 19% said the harassment hurt their mental health.

Time’s Up was created in 2018 so workers who were unable to pay for a legal claim for harassment could move forward with a case with financial and legal assistance. Regarding harassment, people found themselves being fired, having their hours reduced, receiving less pay and having trouble getting work in the same industry. Because so many are fearful of these exact consequences after reporting sexual harassment, the behavior can fester and get worse. More than half of those who made the online information request said that the person who was harassing them was their direct superior. Thirty-seven percent of the people who allegedly committed the harassment were unpunished.

Reporting mistreatment and illegal behavior at work can be intimidating. This is especially true if it involved sexual harassment. A commonly stated reason for people refusing to speak out is fear of retaliation and concern that nothing of consequence will be done to the person who allegedly committed these acts. This study shows that this is indeed a legitimate problem. This should not dissuade people who have been harassed from speaking up, but it is something to consider in the aftermath and could be the basis for another complaint. A firm with experience in harassment and employer retaliation may be able to help with a case.

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