Women in both the tech and media industries are very outspoken about the toxic workplace culture that enables sexual harassment to thrive. Many of these women have spoken out publicly, conducting interviews with the media and engaging in long legal battles.
In these cases, it appears we are making strides towards a better and more equal workplace. However, this is not always the case. The Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has reported over 20,000 sexual harassment complaints filed within the last year.
The Commission estimates at least 70 percent of sexual harassment victims choose to stay silent. As much media attention as sexual harassment has, researchers are still struggling to collect adequate data. They believe that lack of data is due to several factors, but the main reason is because victims are afraid to report the behavior.
The silence is even more deafening within low-paying industries where employers cannot afford to make their claims public or seek legal counsel. Healthcare, manufacturing, and retail had the highest recorded number of incidents.
The Sectors That Are Affected
At least 14 percent of the complaints came from the healthcare sector. Healthcare is a female dominated field but there are concerning power dynamics. Typically, female doctors make less than male doctors and males are more likely to serve in administrative and executive positions.
Researchers believe that harassment is more prominent within industries that have one gender “presiding” over the other. The reverse dynamic takes place in construction or manufacturing where men hold most of the jobs. The women here encounter higher levels of discrimination and harassment.
Researchers also found that workers in food services and public administration also made numerous complaints regarding sexual harassment.
It is important to note that sexual harassment is not just a female issue. Men are harassed at half the rate women are. A recent poll found that 30 percent of women and 15 percent of men have been sexually harassed at work. These numbers are just a small indication of the issues the average worker faces every day.
When these numbers are added to the countless cases that go reported and unreported, we see the outline of a grave problem within the American workforce.
Workers in lower-paying industries also face backlash for reporting their harassment. Many have been fired or have had their hours reduced due to complaints. Most companies see workers that speak out about sexual harassment as troublemakers, but the problem is glaring in service industries where pay is low and workers are deemed easily replaceable.
Speaking out could mean losing money and resources that workers cannot afford to forego. So, many make the difficult decision to keep quiet, much to their emotional and mental detriment. The EEOC is required to notify employers about complaints and victims lose their anonymity once that information is shared.
It is illegal to fire an employee based on a complaint, but many companies find loopholes to get rid of such employees.
South Jersey Sexual Harassment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Can Help You Fight Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
The South Jersey sexual harassment lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates P.C. are committed to helping you receive the justice you deserve. Call us now at 215-569-1999 to schedule a free consultation or fill out our online contact form.