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Protecting yourself after reporting sexual harassment

Being sexually harassed by your boss or colleagues can make every day at work miserable. Victims of harassment can feel scared, angry and powerless. Reporting this type of illegal misconduct allows a person to take control of their situation and protect their rights.

Unfortunately, for some people, reporting harassment does not put an end to their problems. Too many victims of harassment face retaliation after filing a sexual harassment claim.

What is retaliation?

Retaliation is the act of taking negative action against a person to punish them for reporting misconduct. It can take many forms, including:

  • Firing the person who filed the report
  • Relocating the worker to a less desirable or more inconvenient location
  • Denying a promotion
  • Accusations of defamation
  • A hostile work environment
  • Poor performance reviews
  • Assigning them to unfavorable shifts or projects

How often does this happen?

Sadly, reports suggest that retaliation is quite common. In fact, studies show that nearly 80 percent of people who report sexual harassment face some type of retaliation. And in more than one-third of cases, the perpetrator did not face any penalties.

These numbers can be disheartening, but they also reveal that more people are coming forward to report harassment in the first place, which is a positive trend for workers.

How can I protect myself?

Retaliation is illegal in the workplace, as is harassment.

Employers can protect themselves by taking every report of harassment seriously and refraining from any retaliatory behavior.

Knowing your rights is critical in protecting yourself from harassment and retaliation. If you understand that you are being treated unfairly, you can take steps to stop the misconduct and pursue remedies to correct the situation.

Filing a legal claim allows victims of harassment and retaliation to hold the offending party accountable and seek financial compensation. Legal action can also prevent misconduct from continuing and make it easier for other victims to come forward.

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