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Retaliation common in sexual harassment cases

Some may wonder why some Texas women who have been victims of sexual harassment at work choose not to report the perpetrators or take action to put a stop to the behavior. Unfortunately, statistics gathered by the University of Massachusetts Amherst Center for Employment Equity make clear why workers in a bad situation often feel forced to make difficult choices. Most employees who complain about harassment on the job face some kind of retaliation at work, according to the researchers.

The study showed that 64 percent of people who made sexual harassment claims against others at work were terminated from their jobs within one year of the complaint. Sixty-eight percent faced some form of retaliation overall. The researchers reviewed over 46,000 complaints about sexual harassment over a four-year period between 2012 and 2016. They examined claims submitted to the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as well as those made before state Fair Employment Practices agencies.

The researchers estimated that around 5 million people are sexually harassed every year at work. Some industries are more frequently subject to complaints than others; oil and mining, transportation and warehousing showed the highest rates of harassment claims from women. The #MeToo movement has helped to shed light on the pervasive nature of unwanted sexual advances and other misconduct not only in the entertainment industry but also in politics and major corporations. However, the center noted that the vast majority of incidents go unreported, often due to fear of retaliation.

Just like sexual harassment itself, retaliation is prohibited under the law. Workers who have been subject to unwanted sexual advances or other forms of harassment at work can take action to protect themselves. An employment lawyer can provide advice and representation to help an employee seek justice.

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