Retaliation is a huge problem in the workplace, and this is why there are many legal protections in place in order to attempt to prevent it from happening. However, unfortunately retaliation still persists in the workplace after an incident occurs.
Sexual harassment goes severely underreported in the workplace; therefore, reports and surveys struggle to attain a complete picture of the situation. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) conducted a study that revealed that between 25 and 85 percent of women have reported experiencing workplace sexual harassment.
How is workplace sexual harassment defined?
The definition of sexual harassment in the workplace is very broad. It is defined as any type of behavior of a sexual nature that creates a "hostile environment" in the mind of the victim. This could be the act of a coworker making inappropriate jokes, making the recipient feel uncomfortable to the point where he or she feels embarrassed to work with or communicate with that person further.
What is retaliation?
Retaliation is defined as a response to a person exercising his or her rights in the workplace. The EEOC reports that this is experienced by 75 percent of sexual harassment victims. An example of this is when a person experiences sexual harassment in the workplace, and he or she makes a formal complaint. When they make this complaint, they may experience negative treatment as a result, for example overtime denial or demotion. This is known as retaliation, and it is always illegal, carrying consequences when it can be proven.
If you have experienced retaliation as a result of sexual harassment in the workplace, it is important that you take action and enforce your rights.
Source: Vox, "Study finds 75 percent of workplace harassment victims experienced retaliation when they spoke up," accessed March 30, 2018