Study examines harassment in the workplace

A study conducted by specialist insurer Hiscox indicated that 35% percent of employees believe they have experienced harassment in the workplace. Of the people in that group, 50% said the harassment was due to their sex or gender. The study including surveys of 500 full-time employees in Tennessee and across the country and was conducted from June 6 to June 11, 2018. Study participants were found with an invitation over email followed by a survey they completed online.

Among those who said they were harassed, 73% said the harasser was in a higher position than they were and 78% said the harasser was male. The study also found examples of male employees who said they had been harassed by female coworkers and employees who said they'd been sexually harassed by members of the same sex. There were also instances noted wherein the harassment came from vendors, customers or others outside the company. Sexual harassment in any form may be actionable against the employer, even if the harassment is coming from a person who does not work there.

The Hiscox study also noted that 40% of those who participated said they did not report the incidents of harassment, either to the company or to law enforcement. The most commonly-cited reason for not reporting harassing behavior was fear that reporting it would lead to a hostile work environment. Among the group who said they reported the harassment, 37% said they thought their employer did not handle it properly.

Workers in Tennessee have a right to work in a safe environment. People who believe they have experienced sexual harassment may have claims for money damages or other relief. A lawyer might be able to help in such cases by gathering evidence or interviewing witnesses to build a case. The attorney may be able to negotiate a settlement with the employer or other at-fault parties.

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