How to Handle Workplace Sexual Misconduct?
Sexual harassment in work places are quite a common thing in this modern era. Although companies encourage their female employees to open up against such misconducts, there are still many cases which are not yet reported. According to a recent data CareerBuilder, 12% of the female employees experience sexual harassment in offices during working hours. However, out of that almost 72% female employees remain silent about such incidents. The data also reveals that almost 54%, which is more than half, did not even confront the perpetrator. Employers are encouraged to protect themselves with sexual misconduct liability insurance if something were to happen in the workplace.
According to Rosemary Haefner, the chief HR officer at CareerBuilder, female employees who experience sexual misconduct at work places remain silent due to the fear of denial, the fear of the after effects of making a formal complaint, and shame.
Who Actually Conducts Sexual Harassment?
The sexual misconduct against women employees is not just limited to bosses or seniors. A recent survey reported that close to 60% of such sexual harassment are done by peers, close to 36% done by supervisors and managers, almost 9% by clients, nearly 8% by senior managements, 5% by vendors, and almost 3% by direct reports.
Some of the victims of sexual harassment at work places mentioned different reasons for remaining silent on such matters. Almost 40% cited that they remain quiet due to the fear of being categorized as a troublemaker in office. Almost 22% said that the reason of speaking against another person makes them remain silent on the topic. At the same time, almost 18% said they remain silent in the fear of losing their job. However, 75% out of those that reported the incident, have said that the issue got resolved after reporting.
Age Brackets of Sexual Harassment Victims
Data reveals that almost 17% of the sexual harassments are against women between the age of 18 years and 34 years. For those between the ages of 35 years and 44 years the harassment percentage if 11%. Almost 10% of such crimes happen against women between 45 years and 54 years. Whereas, 9% of sexual misconduct crimes happen against women over the age of 55 years.
What Does The Law Say?
As per EEOC, sexual misconduct is a type of sex discrimination. Thus, under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, every woman has the right to be protected by the law from such discriminations in workplaces, provided the company you work for has more than 15 employees. Employer law and state law policies may also provide additional protections for female employees.
Policies of Your Workplace
It will be a good idea for female employees to try and find out whether your company has an anti-harassment policy in place. This will either appear on the employer’s website on in an employee handbook. You may also get such information from the HR department of your company.
If you find such a policy, always follow the steps mentioned in it that should also include the options for reporting a case of sexual misconduct and also filing the incident. It is true that the specifics of such policies may differ from one company to another.