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Why do you need to report sexual harassment at work?

Sexual harassment can happen anywhere. It can happen to people of all ages and genders, from your young niece at school to your grandad in the nursing home. Yet much of it happens in the workplace. This is the area a new report from Resume-Now examines.

The results do not make for comfortable reading. Less than a quarter of employees who reported sexual harassment strongly agreed that their employer had taken their complaint seriously, and at least half felt they had not. What is more, 53% of workers were fired after reporting it. Retaliatory action by an employer is illegal, but then so is sexual harassment in the first place.

Does that mean you should not bother reporting it, because you may be either ignored or fired? No. The more people that report sexual harassment and retaliatory behavior, the more chance that things will improve. Previous generations might tell you they put up with far worse things than are happening to you. Maybe they did — but that does not mean you should.

Sexual harassment is bad for your health

Aside from the fact that it is immoral and illegal, the Resume-Now report shows that workplace sexual harassment can damage your health. Half of those who reported that someone had sexually harassed them also reported emotional exhaustion. A third reported anxiety, headaches and sleep problems, and 17% reported post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD).

There are legal options in place if your employer does not handle your complaint appropriately. While they might not want to know about such things, they need to, as they have a duty to protect you while at work.