Many victims of sexual harassment are reluctant to come forward about their experiences because they fear that doing so may result in job loss or a hostile work environment, among other repercussions. Studies show that they have a reason to feel that way, with a high percentage of sexual harassment claimants experiencing unfavorable or unfair treatment after making their allegations.
According to the Mercury News, a review of more than 46,000 sexual harassment claims filed between 2012 and 2016 revealed concerning information about why so many victims never come forward.
More than 60% of all claimants who came forward after experiencing sexual harassment at work faced either termination or some type of retaliation after doing so. Within one year of making their claims, 64% of employees who made sexual harassment allegations lost their jobs.
Even more sexual harassment claimants experienced retaliation after making their claims. Retaliation comes in a variety of forms. If an employer demotes an employee or gives him or her unfavorable duties or shifts, this may constitute retaliation. Other examples might include denying an employee a promotion or transferring him or her to a new location.
Most incidents of sexual harassment go unreported. Estimates suggest that about 5 million U.S. employees experience on-the-job sexual harassment every year. Yet, almost 99% of them never report the treatment. Most sexual harassment claims never make their way to court.
It is important to note that the statistics cited herein involve a time before the #metoo movement. It is not yet clear how much this movement may have helped encourage victims of sexual harassment to speak out.