Florida employees who experienced any type of mistreatment in the workplace have the right to report it to their employers or the appropriate authority. However, many victims do not speak out because they feel intimidated, embarrassed or unsure of what to do next. This is why it is important for employers to make it easy and safe to report sexual harassment or discrimination in a confidential manner.
Women are particularly prone to feeling unsafe in the workplace. A report from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found that only 30% of those who experienced any type of harassment in their place of work feel like they can safely report it. Fewer than 15% of victims end up pursing legal action over what they experienced. Another study found that fewer than one-third of all workers discussed sexual harassment with employers, even informally.
Employees may avoid reporting this because they feel as if there is no real benefit in reporting it. Others may fear retaliation from the employer or the instigator. In some workplaces, there is only one option for reporting harassment, and the victim may not feel comfortable with it. When there is a sense that the victim will not be believed, he or she is much less likely to report harassment or discrimination.
Sexual harassment at work is a serious issue, and it is one Florida employers should take seriously. There should be systems in place that allow victims to report comfortably and safely report any problems. Failure to address reports of sexual harassment could be grounds for a civil claim.