There have been many positive changes since the #MeToo movement highlighted inappropriate behavior in the workplace. Sadly, this heightened awareness still does not always translate into accountability. This is according to a new study administered by the National Women’s Law Center. The study analyzed what happened to more than 3,300 workers who filed sexual harassment lawsuits between January 2018 and April 2020.
Retaliation without fear
Amidst the data, one thing was immediately apparent – many of the victims are punished:
- 75% of those who filed harassment in the workplace charges faced retaliation.
- 64% said they first reported the harassment to their employer, but the employer failed to take action.
- 36% were fired for filing a claim.
- 22% who volunteered information said it negatively affected financial and economic well-being.
The impact on victims
Often enduring more than one form of harassment, victims cited such adverse effects as:
- Harm to their mental well-being
- Harm to their physical well-being
- Harm to their professional development
- Harm to their economic growth
Difficult times making matters worse
Economists claim that the economic downturn will end as the world get’s COVID-19 under control. While federal and state laws require employers to investigate employee harassment claims, some believe that the difficult times have made it easier for employers to remove “problem” employees as part of the pandemic’s economic fallout. Moreover, with the isolating nature of working from home, it may also be more challenging for coworkers to identify if a victim is targeted.
Victims still have a voice
The laws do protect employees from harassment. If the employer is not responsive to a claim or takes retaliatory action, employees can turn to lawyers who handle harassment claims. Conversely, these attorneys can also help businesses draft new policies to help avoid a lawsuit and better ensure that the workplace is a safe and inviting place for all employees.