COSTS EMPLOYEES FACE IN REPORTING WORKPLACE SEXUAL HARASSMENT

By Bob Katzen

Nearly two-thirds of employees who report workplace sexual harassment face retaliation from their employers and 65 percent of employees who file sexual harassment complaints lose their jobs within a year, according to new research from the University of Massachusetts Amherst Center for Employment Equity (CEE).

“Employer’s Responses to Sexual Harassment” by co-authors Carly McCann, Donald Tomaskovic-Devey and M.V. Lee Badgett, analyzed over 46,000 harassment claims from 2012-2016.

“Sexual harassment, and perhaps discrimination of all types, should be addressed proactively and affirmatively by management, rather than leaving it to the targets of discrimination to pursue legal remedies as individuals,” said Badgett.

“Most employer responses tend to be harsh both via retaliation and firing employees who complain,” says Tomaskovic-Devey. “The very low proportion of employees who file sexual harassment complaints is very likely to be related to employers’ typically punitive responses.”

“Although they comprise 47 percent of the labor force, women file 81 percent of sexual harassment charges,” said McCann. “Black women, in particular, report a disproportionality large percentage of workplace sexual harassment charges. They account for 7 percent of the labor force but file 27 percent of sexual harassment charges.”

The full report can be found at: https://www.umass.edu/employmentequity/employers-responses-sexual-harassment

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