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More sexual harassment cases may be going to arbitration

The incidence of reported sexual harassment has dropped in Florida over the last 20 years as it has in every state. Throughout the country in 2017, there were just a little more than 9,600 sexual harassment complaints to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In 1997, the figure was 16,000. However, experts say this does not necessarily mean that there is less sexual harassment in the workplace. Instead, companies increasingly have private ways of dealing with sexual harassment complaints.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, there is an in-house complaint process at 95 percent of companies, and more than 80 percent have an investigation protocol in place. The SHRM also found that while more than half of human resources professionals said the incidence of unreported sexual harassment was small, 75 percent of employees who were not in management and had experienced harassment in the workplace did not report it.

The Economic Policy Institute found that employees are required to settle any disputes through arbitration at more than 50 percent of companies. Employees may still be able to report harassment to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, but their employers may prohibit them from filing civil suits. However, the attorney Gloria Allred says a confidential process can benefit some employees who do not want it publicly known they have made such an accusation.

Someone who is being sexually harassed at work might want to seek Boca Raton, Florida, sexual harassment legal assistance. A wide range of behaviors constitutes sexual harassment, including lewd comments, unwanted touching and demanding sexual favors in exchange for employment. An attorney may be able to advise a person about how to document and build a case that sexual harassment has occurred and what to do based on the policies of that individual's workplace.

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