Not all sexual harassment cases get reported

Workplace harassment that takes place in Tennessee and other states is likely to go unreported. If it does get reported, it may mean negative consequences for the person who did so. This was the takeaway from an analysis of harassment charges brought to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and similar state agencies from 2012 to 2016.

In a given year, only 9,200 people file charges of harassment. However, it is believed that up to 5 million people per year experience it based on survey data. While it appears that the EEOC takes allegations seriously, only 1,800 cases per year are resolved favorably. One reason that employees are unlikely to report sexual harassment is that alleged employer retaliation occurs in 68 percent of cases. Levels of retaliation and job loss remain relatively steady regardless of the race or gender of the person who made the report.

Employees may be encouraged by the fact that 88 percent of cases received by the EEOC are considered legitimate. Most cases that are rejected are tossed because of reasons not related to the perceived validity of the claim. While it is possible to receive monetary compensation in a sexual harassment case, there is no guarantee of a big payday. The average award was $24,700, and in roughly 99 percent of cases, an individual received less than $100,000.

Those who are subject to unwanted sexual advances and other unwanted behavior at work may be considered victims of harassment on the job. If an employer is violating employment law, it may be required to pay damages to victims. Compensation might include back pay, punitive damages and other amounts allowed by law. An attorney may review evidence presented by a worker or gather additional evidence to potentially substantiate a claim.

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