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Sexual harassment victims often choose silence

Sexual harassment exists throughout all levels of employment, but workers are reluctant to bring attention to the situation. In New York and across the nation, victims are choosing to remain silent instead of risking job loss. An executive with the National Women's Law Center education and employment reported this information to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Some companies may develop a strong policy against inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace but fail to implement strong enforcement. Companies also have arbitration policies in place to which all workers must agree, so many cases of sexual harassment are worked out and settled with the confines of the job, and no lawsuit is ever filed.

Harassment cases with the most evidence are often settled because the company does not want to risk losing a case. Those cases where neither side has a strong position are the ones most likely to end up in court. It is a gamble on both sides, and many employees may choose to have a good job rather than a good lawsuit, so they just stay quiet about the harassment and intimidation on the job.

Management is critical to making the emphasis that harassment will not be tolerated, but sometimes, sexual advances, jokes and inappropriate touching create such a hostile work environment that the employee decides to take a risk and change the situation. An attorney often may provide guidance to an employee who has decided to stand up to the inappropriate action. The attorney may advise the worker on the evidence that best supports his or her case. The attorney may provide input to the employee on the courses of action to take and in which venue legal action can best be initiated.

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