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Why workplace harassment victims may wait to speak out

In cases involving sexual harassment in New York workplaces, it may take a victim a long time to speak out about what happened. This may be because the person who commits the act may be in a position of power while the victim may be someone who society may look down upon or otherwise value less than others. Over time, such behavior may become commonplace and another part of the social order.

When harassment takes place at work, victims may refuse to speak out for fear of retaliation. Victims may have seen what happened to others who refused to give in to the perpetrator's demands or reported the behavior. Therefore, some victims may believe it is easier to keep quiet until it is possible to gain the stature needed to withstand any possible backlash.

Victims may be too scared to tell anybody about their experience for fear their stories won't be believed. It is also possible that they have been threatened by their harasser to keep quiet or suffer additional consequences. Threats may even be made against family members to increase the odds that a victim doesn't say anything to anyone about the behavior. Therefore, those who hear stories of harassment from victims are encouraged to listen and not blame the victim for waiting too long to speak out.

Workers who are subject to a hostile work environment may be entitled to compensation. This is the case if it can be proven that they are consistently subject to lewd jokes, sexual advances or other interactions that make it difficult to focus on the job at hand. An attorney can often assist in investigating the matter and filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission if warranted.

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