According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, just 10 percent of workers in Arizona and the rest of the country submit an official complaint about the harassment they experience in the workplace. The reasons the remaining workers are reluctant to do so include the fear of retaliation and the belief that their complaint will not be believed. Based on a 2016 report from the federal commission, their reasons have sufficient grounds.
A spokesperson for the commission asserts that companies should modernize their training so that it takes into account new social norms. The illegality of sexual harassment has been in place since 1986 with the passage of Title VII. The updates in the training that companies should provide are primarily related to the approach to the training, how sexual harassment is discussed and the evolution of social norms.
A 2016 task force from the EEOC studied workplace harassment and discovered that harassing behavior based on one’s gender was rarely reported. Harassment involving unsolicited physical touching was reported just 8 percent of the time, and workers reported sexually coercive behavior just 30 percent of the time. The task force discovered that the percentage of workers who are victims of harassment and who file a complaint range from just 6 percent to 13 percent.
The results of a study conducted in 2003 showed that 75 percent of workers who reported harassment subsequently suffered some type of retaliation. Additional studies verify that after sexual harassment is reported, the complaint is often trivialized and treated indifferently by employers.
An attorney who practices employment law may advise clients who are victims of sexual harassment in the workplace about their legal options. Complaints may be filed with the EEOC regarding violations of federal law. The attorney might also be able to pursue financial damages against the employer for workplace harassment.