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Why workers often do not report harassment

Many employees in Florida who face harassment at work might not report that harassment. According to a study by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2016, the reason that around 90 percent of workers who are harassed do not report it is for fear they will not be believed, nothing will be done, or they will face retaliation.

Employees have good reason for fearing all of these consequences, and retaliation in particular is a problem. According to a study in 2003, three-fourths of employees faced retaliation after reporting workplace harassment. Employees who report sexual harassment are frequently faced with minimizing or indifference. The 2016 study found that employees rarely reported gender harassment while less than one-third of people who faced sexual coercion at work reported it. Fewer than 10 percent of people reported unwanted physical touching.

According to an EEOC spokesperson, while there have not been significant changes in the law since sexual harassment was made illegal in 1986 under Title VII, social norms have changed, and companies need to update their sexual harassment training to reflect this. The EEOC report said that training has often focused on how companies can avoid becoming liable. In 2017, the agency said training should focus on a change in the work environment.

There are a number of other reasons besides reporting harassment that workers might also face workplace retaliation. Workers who become whistleblowers about dangerous conditions, who file for workers' compensation, who speak up in support of other workers or who take time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act might all face retaliation such as more harassment, demotion or termination. If workplace retaliation occurs, a person may want to look into workers comp retaliation attorney assistance or legal assistance that focuses on other types of workplace retaliation.

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