It’s important to feel safe at work. While location, experience, type of industry, and management style can all play a role in how safe employees feel, it’s also important that the workplace remain harassment-free at all times. This is key to retaining good workers and ensuring that employees can do their jobs.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t stop harassment from happening. Sexual harassment is still a prevalent issue in California businesses, affecting employees of all genders, sexual orientations, religions, ages, and industries. Though some groups are targeted for harassment more often than others, the issue affects all types of businesses throughout California and beyond.
No matter your position or experience, it is important for you to be able to identify sexual harassment and understand why it is a problem. When you acknowledge how frequently this damaging behavior occurs, it’s easier to face the issue and try to stop it. Current statistics help to empower you if and when the topic of sexual harassment arises in your workplace.
Sexual Harassment Statistics by Gender and Sexual Orientation
There is a common misconception that women are the only demographic that experiences sexual harassment, but this is not true. A staggering 81% of women face workplace sexual harassment at some point in their lifetime, but 43% of men also go through it.
The LGBTQ community suffers even more. Four out of every five bisexual or lesbian individuals experience workplace sexual harassment, compared to one in four heterosexual women. Three out of every four gay men experience the same. A whopping 90% of transgender individuals experience some kind of harassment on the job, a large amount of which is sexual or sexist.
Reporting Sexual Harassment
Coming forward with a harassment experience is not easy to do. 79% of men and 63% of women do not report their experiences for various reasons. Overall, 75% of sexual harassment cases go unreported.
There are many reasons that this may be the case. Some individuals are embarrassed by what happened, while others don’t want to talk about it. Many people think that they’ll get in trouble for reporting, while others don’t realize that what happened was inappropriate. Other times someone might get some sort of favor or benefit in exchange for enduring the harassment, so they choose to remain silent.
Potential retaliation is a major reason individuals don’t come forward with their workplace harassment experiences. Many people believe that they will be punished because they come forward. Unfortunately, this fear is not unfounded. About 55% of victims do experience retaliatory action after they report their experience. While this is an incredibly disheartening statistic, it’s important to remember that retaliation is illegal and is not tolerated by California law. You can take further legal action if you experience retaliation after reporting sexual harassment.
Retaliatory acts include:
- Being fired
- Having your pay decreased
- Being passed for a promotion
- Being ignored
- Being excluded
Many sexual harassment cases are Quid-Pro-Quo, which is Latin for “this for that.” In these workplace sexual harassment scenarios, the victim is harassed in exchange for a promotion, pay raise, or other benefits. This often occurs between a person of power, such as a boss or a manager, and an employee who works for them.
Reporting these situations can be especially intimidating because of the power dynamic. However, it’s important to remember that retaliation is illegal. You cannot be fired for reporting your experience.
What is Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment is any unwanted sexual activity in the workplace. There are many examples of sexual harassment, including:
- Unwanted sexual advances
- Sexual “jokes”
- Verbal or written comments about a person’s sexuality, sex life, body, etc.
There are many more examples. It’s important to remember that these acts are illegal, and you have the right to report them if they happen to you.
Can an Employer Retaliate Against an Employee Who Makes Sexual Harassment Claims?
No. Employers cannot take retaliatory action against employees who come forward with their experiences. Employees have the right to feel safe and protected in the workplace, so when someone feels uncomfortable it is an employer’s job to trust their story and help them. You cannot be fired, demoted, etc., for reporting sexual harassment.
What Are Female Harassment in the Workplace Statistics?
About 81% of women experience sexual harassment in the workplace at some point in their lives. About 37% of them report this information, while the rest do not. In California, the rates are higher, with approximately 86% of women experiencing sexual harassment in their lifetimes. Many more women have begun to come forward following the #MeToo movement.
What Do I Do If My Boss Is Harassing Me?
If you are experiencing sexual harassment at the hands of a superior, it’s easy to feel disheartened. However, you can still report your experiences with the protection of retaliation laws. Begin by reporting your experience to Human Resources. Record all conversations and request copies of any documents they make. If nothing happens or changes, you should call a California sexual harassment attorney to help you navigate the situation.
Is Sexual Harassment Always Physical?
No. In fact, sexual harassment does not have to involve physical touch at all. Many times, comments, jokes, emails, texts, and hand gestures are more than enough to be considered sexual harassment. Sometimes, people engage in these behaviors without knowing that they’re crossing a line. Other times, they know what they’re doing and trust that the victim will not come forward. No matter what the situation, you have the right to report your experiences if you’re being harassed.
Contact The Law Offices of Corbett H. Williams
Our team has been supporting employees for many years. We understand the challenges that occur in the workplace, especially surrounding sexual harassment cases. Though these situations can be difficult and emotionally damaging, we help you walk through your case with confidence. We are passionate about helping California workers feel safe and secure while doing their jobs, and fighting sexual harassment cases is a big part of that. For more information about what we do, the cases we handle, our track record, or how we can help you, contact The Law Offices of Corbett H. Williams today.