With the Hollywood sexual misconduct scandals, the “Me Too” movement and other politically charged topics landing under the recent spotlight, employees across the country are wondering if they may be experiencing some level of abuse within the workplace. Although the country has seen significant progress in directing accountability and spreading awareness about the issue, many West Virginian workers nevertheless feel unsafe while on the job.
In January, CNBC reported on the growing concern toward sexual misconduct in the workplace, stating that unreported incidents continue to circulate within various industries. The “Me Too” movement that has dominated the media for months has certainly shed light on countless unethical cases, but there are still a considerable number of employees who have remained silent — whether it be for reasons of fearing retaliation, stigma or other repercussions. As CNBC shared using a recent survey, almost three quarters of the 12 percent of employees who admitted to having experienced sexual harassment did not report the incident. Over half of those surveyed did not confront their harasser. Employees also expressed fears of becoming a troublemaker, having one person’s word against another’s or losing the job altogether.
Most cases involving sexual harassment are rarely black and white; instead, employees can find themselves confused, afraid and overwhelmed at the complexity of the situation. The American Association of University Women confirms that all employees in the country have rights to remain respected and safe at work. Should an employee suspect these rights have been violated, they may turn to a number of resources. Above all else, the AAUW urges victims to document all information regarding the incident, including communication with the harasser, the employee’s experience reporting the incident and other crucial aspects of the situation. The more precise the account, the higher chances one may have of getting to the bottom of an incident and ultimately recovering respect.