Why Women Are Reluctant To Report Sexual Harassment at Work


Why don’t women come forward to report sexual harassment? This important question is the focus of a recent Forbes article that examined why so few women report harassing behavior at work. It’s estimated that three-fourths of those who experience harassment at work don’t ever file a complaint (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission).

With most organizations having anti-harassment policies in place, harassment in the workplace is still a big problem. And yet so many incidents are not reported. According to Forbes, the main reasons that a person will not report sexual harassment are humiliation, follow-through time, not wanting to be seen as an attention-getter, not wanting to be viewed as a victim, and fear of negative consequences including losing their jobs.

The disturbing behaviors are not limited to sexual harassment, but all types of harassment. Victims of all types can suffer from a greater risk of high blood pressure as well as poor sleeping habits.

Why Women Don’t Seek Out Human Resources in a Harassment Situation

Forbes listed four reasons why women who have experienced sexual harassment at work are reluctant to report it to Human Resources (HR):

  • Lack of trust in HR: HR works for company management and may even report to the abuser.

  • Fear of jeopardizing their jobs or careers: Women feel that they may lose something valuable, such as their position or career, and don’t want to take the chance.

  • Behavior is long rooted in company culture: The higher the level of those who exhibit inappropriate behavior, the more that victims and other workers assume that it is “normal” and part of the company’s culture.

  • HR itself is not responsive. Often those who do turn to HR to report harassment are told that they are overreacting or their complaints are dismissed.

To find solutions, Forbes encourages businesses to look for answers by asking questions. Drill down to specifics – don’t just ask, “Why is this happening?” Instead, brainstorm to come up with concrete action steps to find out from former employees what was happening, or to shake up or incent HR.

Do you feel comfortable going to your Human Resources department to report harassing behavior? If not, please call us right away. We can help end the behavior and determine if you are eligible for compensation for any physical and emotional trauma that you have suffered.

We Can Help If You Have Experienced Sexual Harassment at Work

If you or a family member has experienced bullyingsexual assaultsexual harassment of any kind, or has been injured in an accident or by any other type of personal injury, or needs help with any employment discrimination or family law issue, please contact the Essex County Law Offices of Paul S. Foreman, P.C. immediately. We have the right experience to get the optimal results for your case. Please call us for a free consultationAttorney Paul S. Foreman, a personal injury attorney in Roseland, will fight to secure justice for you and your family. You can reach us at 973-315-3232 or contact us via the website.