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Awareness of sexual harassment may lead to more complaints

Companies in California and throughout the country are expecting an increased number of sexual harassment cases in 2018. The HR Certification Institute did a poll of 200 people who were HR leaders within their organizations to get their feelings about the matter. Of those polled, 79 percent said that sexual harassment training should be a high priority, compared to just 40 percent in 2017.

The awareness that the #MeToo movement brought to the issue is one primary reason why the number of sexual harassment complaints is expected to rise in the short term. According to the CEO of HRCI, the movement should also encourage companies to prevent long-term harassment issues. Of those who took part in the HRCI poll, only 7 percent said that sexual harassment doesn’t take place within their organizations.

This compares to 30 percent who said such acts occur frequently. Regardless of how prevalent a company believes sexual harassment to be, 96 percent of HR professionals polled agreed that claims are difficult to handle. In some cases, acts of harassment will not be reported, and there are also cases in which a claim is supported by nothing more the words of those involved. These factors may put HR in a tough spot when it comes to resolving a claim.

There are many ways in which a worker can be the victim of sexual harassment that goes beyond direct sexual advances. Harassment could occur if a worker is treated differently based on gender or the subject of inappropriate rumors or innuendo. An attorney could review a case to determine if harassment occurred and what type of relief a victim may be entitled to.