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Why do many sexual harassment victims remain silent?

A person's reputation can play a significant part in his or her career advancement. If individuals in your workplace consider you a hard worker and someone who is reliable, you may be more likely to see positive effects on your career. However, if parties at your place of employment consider you a troublemaker or untrustworthy, your career could remain stagnant or even see negative repercussions.

Unfortunately, misinformation can sometimes damage a person's reputation, and co-workers or superiors could purposefully spread that misinformation in retaliation for certain actions, such as filing a complaint regarding sexual harassment in the workplace.

A common reason for staying silent

You and many other workers in Florida and elsewhere may consider remaining silent about any harassment you faced in the workplace because you fear for your reputation. Sadly, this is a common reason many individuals choose not to report sexual harassment in the workplace. They worry that they will receive negative labels, like being a troublemaker, or that they will face other retaliatory actions, like being disciplined or even fired. 

Surveys looking into the handling of sexual harassment in the workplace found that 72% of individuals who said they experienced this type of harassment did not file a report. In addition to the previously mentioned reasons, it can also be difficult because many workers feel that it is a he said/she said type of situation, meaning that they worry nothing will come of it if they only have their word to go on and if the other party disputes it.

A problem at all levels

No matter a person's position level within a company, it is possible to commit or be the victim of sexual harassment. According to survey results, peers/co-workers were the most common parties responsible for harassing actions, and managers or supervisors came in second. It is important to remember, however, that senior management, vendors, clients and customers could all commit sexual harassment.

What can you do?

If you have faced this type of harassment on the job, you may wonder what you should do. While the choice is ultimately up to you, speaking up could result in a resolution to the issue and, hopefully, stop future harassment from happening. In the event that you do file a report and your employer does not address it properly or you face retaliation for complaining, you may want to look into your legal options for addressing the matter.

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