Study: Most who report sexual harassment face retaliation

On Behalf of | Oct 19, 2020 | Employment Law

It has been three years since the #MeToo movement drew back the curtain on sexual harassment in the workplace. While there’s little doubt that the media attention on sexual misconduct by prominent men helped raise awareness of the problem, many have wondered if behavior has changed appreciably since October of 2017.

A new study finds that more than 7 out of 10 of people who report sexual harassment in the workplace are subjected to some form of retaliation afterwards.

Researchers at the National Women’s Law Center analyzed more than 3,300 requests for assistance made between January 2018 and the end of this past April.

Researchers said reported retaliation included firings, denials of promotions and being sued for defamation.

The study’s other findings include the following:

  • 64 percent: reported the harassment to their employer first
  • 56 percent: the sexual harasser was someone they report to at work
  • 37 percent: nothing happened to the perpetrator after the harassment was reported to their employer
  • 22 percent: sexual harassment had a negative impact on them financially
  • 19 percent: the misconduct had a negative impact on their mental health
  • 28 percent: the harassment was not an isolated incident
  • 21 percent: the perpetrator harassed multiple victims
  • 11 percent: reported the harassment to law enforcement
  • 36 percent: experienced sexual assault, assault or other physical harassment
  • 18 percent: experienced harassment or discrimination based on gender and other aspects of their identities (ethnicity, color, disability, etc.)
  • 11 percent: experienced both gender and race discrimination

It’s clear from the study that many victims of sexual harassment try to stop the misconduct by reporting it to their employer and are then victimized a second time when they’re subjected to forms of retaliation.

Workplace sexual harassment and retaliation are unacceptable and unlawful. The Milwaukee employment law attorneys of Alan C. Olson and Associates can help you put a stop to it. Please contact us to discuss your legal options.


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