Although workplace harassment is illegal in California, some companies may still get away with the behavior. Part of the problem may be that approximately 90 percent of employees who face harassment at work never file a complaint.
For example, a study by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found that only about 8 percent of unwanted physical touching was reported. Only about 30 percent of those who experienced sexually coercive conduct reported the behavior. However, harassment involving gender was almost never reported. Ultimately, it was found that only 6 to 13 percent of individuals who experienced any form of harassment actually filed a formal complaint.
There are many reasons why a person may not report harassment in the workplace. In many cases, an employee may fear that he or she will not be believed. This could result in no action being taken by the employer. In other situations, a worker may fear that he or she will face retribution for making the report. Another problem is that many companies have not taken the steps to update their training to reflect the laws. The EEOC has suggested that employers focus on training that incorporates the changes that the work environment is undergoing. This would mean encouraging civil behavior in the workplace.
Although sexual harassment is a common occurrence in the workplace, many employees who experience harassment may have legal recourse if their employers fail to correct the problem. For example, if someone is demoted or terminated after filing a sexual harassment report, an attorney may review the person’s case to determine if he or she has a valid sexual harassment claim against the employer. Depending on the circumstances, a lawyer may help someone seek compensation for lost income or benefits to which he or she may be owed. If an employee was terminated, an attorney may help him or her get his or her job back.