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4 facts about the sexual harassment of women at work

Workplace sexual harassment can happen to men, but it is women who bear the brunt of it. A 2020 report by the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund highlighted some disturbing facts.

Here are some of the key facts it found regarding the sexual harassment of women in the workplace:

1. Retaliation is widespread

If you have ever wondered why people can be reluctant to report sexual harassment this statistic should help. A massive 72% of the women surveyed who had reported sexual harassment said they had faced retaliation for doing so. For 36% of them that meant being fired.

2. Workplace sexual harassment can be incredibly harmful

People often tell women who experience sexual harassment to forget about it, or that it is just “boys being boys”. They fail to understand how much damage it can do. The survey found it affected people in various ways: 22% said it had caused them financial harm, while 19% said it had harmed their mental health.

3. It can be combined with other forms of discrimination

Of the women interviewed who had experienced sexual harassment or discrimination, 18% said it involved others of their protected characteristics. Remember the law prohibits discrimination against someone based on their protected characteristics – things like race, color, gender, culture, pregnancy or disability.

4. Often nothing is done about it

Seventy percent of the women interviewed said they had reported the sexual harassment they experienced. Yet 29% of them said nothing was done to remedy the situation.

Employers must take all claims of sexual harassment or discrimination seriously. If yours does not, you may need to explore your legal options.