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Unreported cases of sexual harassment could result in condemnation

Employees in Los Angeles have a right to work at a place that is free of sexual harassment. But regardless of laws in place to protect workers from sexual harassment, either by co-workers or clients, the physically and emotionally harmful offense still occurs in our country's workplaces.

Unfortunately, some employees who are harassed in the workplace do not understand their rights when it comes to working in a hostile environment. And others might be afraid to immediately report complaints to supervisors. Regardless of the reasons why one may or may not speak up about an incident immediately after it occurs, it seems those on the outside are quick to judge employees who report incidents of sexual harassment in the workplace.

A series of studies conducted by several U.S. university researchers determined that workers who predict what their own reaction to sexual harassment would be are quick to judge and condemn those who don't respond in a similar manner when harassment actually does occur.

In the studies, those who criticized others for not reporting sexual harassment right away saw victims as being "passive" and even showed reluctance to work with "passive victims" of sexual harassment.

Researchers involved in the studies had those who criticized "passive victims" to think of a past situation -- not specifically involving sexual harassment -- in which they were not proactive when encountering workplace intimidation. The intent of this aspect of the study was to foster compassion in those who were critical of others who experienced similar situations and did not immediately confront the situations.

The study is interesting because it points out that many workers still face ridicule in the workplace when they become victims of sexual harassment and don't report it right away. Workers have rights, but when these rights are violated, workers don't always know how protect themselves right away.

Source: Business News, "Why Unreported Sexual Harassment Can Bring Ridicule," Chad Brooks, Nov. 6, 2012

  • Our firm handles a variety of employee complaints, including complaints of sexual harassment in the workplace. To learn more about our firm and practice, please visit our Long Beach sexual harassment lawyer page.

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