The #MeToo movement has certainly made everyone more aware of inappropriate behavior in the workplace. Unfortunately, this heightened awareness has not translated into holding the aggressors accountable. According to a new study, a whopping 75% of people who reported harassment in the workplace faced retaliation for coming forward and 36% were fired. This information reflects 3,317 requests for legal support between January 2018 and April 2020 from the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, administered by the National Women’s Law Center.
The impact of harassment
Harassment involves workers from a variety of different racial, religious and cultural backgrounds. Often victims suffered more than one form of workplace harassment. The impact on the victim involves:
- Their economic growth
- Their professional development
- Their mental well-being
- Their physical well-being
Retaliation shockingly common
While the continued abusive behavior by employees or management is deeply troubling, some find it shocking that businesses met the complaints with retaliation. According to Sharyn Tejani, director of the fund, in a recent article, “Retaliation takes all different forms. Losing your job, losing shifts, losing pay — or if you’ve already lost your job, you can’t find another job in that industry.”
Economy making matters worse
Obviously, the historic economic downturn in 2020 only makes matters worse. Not only does it emboldening employers to dismiss claims and sweep them under the rug amidst the pandemic. These harassed workers then have a more difficult time trying to land a new job. This fear of job loss and other economic stressors has also prevented countless others from coming forward with their own claims.
Victims can fight back
The law protects those who have lost their jobs or suffered marginalization due to harassment. While it may feel like the system works against the victims, employment law attorneys can help protect the rights and well-being of harassed employees. Those with questions about their situation can speak with an attorney to determine the best options for holding the businesses accountable.