Some employees in California who face sexual harassment at work may be reluctant to report it. According to a study by CareerBuilder, almost three-fourths of people who are harassed at work do not report report their incidents, and over half say they never confront the harasser. Fear of retaliation is one of several reasons people may not pursue a sexual harassment claim.
According to the survey, over half of people who said they had been harassed at work were targeted by a peer. More than one-third were targeted by a supervisor, and the rest reporting a client, vendor, senior management or direct report harassing them. People ages 18 to 34 were the most likely to say they had been harassed. Of those who did report harassment to employers, around 75 percent said their situations were resolved.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission considers harassment a form of sex discrimination under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This applies to companies that have at least 15 employees. People who do experience harassment at work should look at the company handbook to see what the harassment policy is and how it should be reported. They should also document the harassment in as much detail as possible. A worker who plans to report the harassment to the EEOC may want to work with an attorney as well.
Even a person who has not yet decided whether to report the harassment may want to consult an attorney. Legal counsel could provide advice regarding workers’ rights, how to document the incidents, how to recognize and document retaliation and whether the actions are likely to be regarded as harassment. Sexual harassment at work is not limited to unwanted touching or other overt actions. In fact, it could include lewd remarks or other behaviors that cause a worker discomfort.