Sexual harassment victims often face retaliation, termination

Sexual harassment occurs in just about every industry across California and the United States, and research shows that many who experience it face additional hardships in the aftermath. A substantial percentage of sexual harassment victims report that they face retaliation or firing in the wake of reporting their allegations of harassment.

According to the Mercury News, researchers arrived at their findings after reviewing more than 46,000 sexual harassment claims lodged with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission between 2012 and 2016. Per their research, 64% of professionals who initiated formal harassment complaints wound up losing their jobs within a year of doing so.

The retaliation factor

While it is common for those who make sexual harassment allegations to lose their jobs after filing claims, many of them also experience other forms of retaliation. Retaliation occurs when an employer “punishes” a worker because he or she chose to exercise a protected right, and it may take on numerous forms.

Receiving a demotion after lodging a harassment complaint may constitute retaliation. So, too, might suddenly receiving less-favorable job duties or a salary reduction, among other examples.

Women frequent victims

Research also revealed that while women make up less than half of the current American workforce, they file more than 80% of sexual harassment complaints. Men constitute about 53% of the workforce, but they file only 19% of these claims.

The research outlined above took place before the “Me Too” movement, which involved many women joining together to speak out about their workplace experiences. Whether these rates may rise in the aftermath of the movement is not yet clear.