Sexual harassment in the workplace is a pervasive issue not only in New York City, but across the country. Unfortunately, not only is such discriminatory action illegal, but sexual harassment impedes productivity and gives way to a hostile work environment as well. There is a blame-the-victim mentality that is too often associated with instances of sexual harassment in the workplace. According to a report recently published in the journal Organizational Science, coworkers can be critical of a victim that fails to report sexual harassment enacted against the victim.
It appears that women that have never suffered sexual harassment often think that victims should be more aggressive in reporting harassment. However, according to one expert on the matter, “A victim may minimize what’s happening to them, they may have very legitimate concerns about losing their job, perhaps they feel what’s the use of reporting it because every other woman here is having the same experience.”
Many women suffering at the hands of a harasser in the workplace may be unaware of the legal remedies available to victims. An employer is obligated to investigate and address claims of sexual harassment. Further, a victim is protected from retaliation for issuing such a claim.
A Washington Post-ABC news poll estimates that about 60 percent of women responded saying that they had at some point been victimized by sexual harassment. Of the woman that reported being victimized, almost a third didn’t think the harassment warranted reporting. There is never a situation in which sexual harassment should have to be tolerated.
It would appear that several patterns of thinking need to be dispelled among women in the work place. First of all, sexual harassment is illegal, and it is never the victim’s fault. Further, sexual harassment in any manner should not have to be tolerated. Anything from a harasser repeatedly making lewd jokes to requests for sexual favors is unwarranted, and can be met with redress.
Source: Everyday Health, “Why Women Tend to Let Sexual Harassment Pass,” Jessica Firger, Nov. 7, 2012
- Our firm has experience aiding employees in situations of sexual harassment. For more information, please visit our New York sexual harassment page.