Sexual harassment victims often face retaliation, termination

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.

Study findings

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.

Claimant statistics

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.