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Reasons why sexual harassment often goes unreported

Sexual harassment is a common occurrence in workplaces in Costa Mesa. Sexual harassment creates conflict which can quickly turn a healthy work environment into a hostile one. Even though there are laws and policies in place to prevent it from happening, many incidents of it go unreported. Anyone who wants to understand their rights should take a moment to learn the reasons why many victims are staying silent.

Believe the behavior is acceptable

Some women who experience varying forms of sexual harassment every day often rationalize their experiences as consequences of being attractive, especially if they work in male-dominated companies. They downplay offensive behaviors and language so they can fit in. Downplaying sexual harassment may seem like an efficient way to diffuse situations for the short-term. But in the long run, the prolonged and lingering effects can have a negative impact on their work performance and health.

Low self-esteem

Some people who are victims of sexual harassment suffer from low self-esteem. They may have trouble standing up for themselves. To avoid conflict, they tend to pretend like the situations never happened. If a higher-ranking worker is harassing them, they may feel that they do not have enough credibility to be taken seriously. No matter what role employees have in an organization or how they feel about themselves, sexual harassment in any form is never acceptable and should always be reported.

Fear of judgment and retaliation

There are federal and local laws in place that provide employees with protections against retaliation from their employers. Many people are not aware of them and are more concerned with how their coworkers and bosses will treat them after they report their situations. Some victims who choose not to file reports do not stay at their jobs. They keep information about their situations to themselves and seek out new employment. They fear their employers will retaliate by blacklisting them and providing unfavorable reference information which can make it harder for them to find new gainful employment elsewhere.

Lack of knowledge

Many people are aware of the more obvious signs of sexual harassment. But they lack the knowledge to identify the subtle offenses. Common signs of harassment include inappropriate touching, gestures and conversations. The not so obvious signs of sexual harassment include flirting and sexually charged text and voice messages, emails, online activities, pictures, Quid pro quo and unwelcome compliments and advances.

Anyone who experiences or sees sexual harassment should report it. Employers cannot take appropriate actions to correct the situations and prevent them from continuing and escalating if they do not know what is going on. Victims cannot protect their rights if they do not speak up. Matters involving workplace sexual harassment are usually complicated. Anyone who sees or experiences unwanted sexual advances or situations at their job should talk to an attorney to learn more about their rights and options.

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