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Reasons harassment victims may stay silent

According to a survey from CareerBuilder, 12 percent of respondents said that they were victims of sexual harassment on the job. However, 72 percent of those who claimed to have experienced such behavior did not report it. Furthermore, 54 percent of those who claimed to be victims of workplace sexual harassment did not confront their abuser. There are many reasons why workers in Pennsylvania and around the country choose not to report what happened to them.

For instance, victims believed that they would be perceived as causing trouble if they spoke up. They also thought that they could lose their job or were scared that the allegations would be dismissed as a he-said/she-said situation. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says that those who feel victimized should first talk to the offender if possible. Incidents of sexual or other harassment should be documented with names of the offender and any witnesses being made part of any complaint raised.

If that isn't enough to get the problem to stop, workers are encouraged to learn more about their employer's anti-harassment policy. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 may offer workers protection from sex discrimination under federal law. However, this may only apply if an employer has 15 or more workers. In some cases, workers may be protected by state laws if federal law does not apply.

If a worker is subjected to sexually suggestive comments or behaviors on a regular basis, that may constitute a hostile working environment. This may result in a worker leaving an employer or being terminated because of an inability to perform job duties to a required standard. Those who may have been impacted by hostile working conditions may be entitled to compensation or other forms of relief through a lawsuit or negotiated settlement.

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