Chattanooga Times Free Press
Study: Many who report harassment face retaliation
Three years into the #MeToo movement, there may be more awareness around workplace sexual harassment. But a new report finds that almost three-quarters of people reporting such harassment suffer from retaliation if they complain.
More than 7 out of 10 people who reported sexual harassment at the workplace said they faced some form of retaliation, up to and including being fired, said the report. It analyzed 3,317 online requests for legal help from the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, between January 2018 and the end of April 2020.
The finding on retaliation was one of the most striking of the broad-ranging report, shared with The Associated Press ahead of its release Thursday. It also found that workplace harassment severely impacted workers’ economic, physical and mental health, and that often, people were subjected to more than one form of workplace harassment — both sexual and racial, for example.
The study was conducted by the National Women’s Law Center, which houses and administers the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, launched in early 2018 to help workers who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford to take their complaints of sexual misconduct to court. It connects them with legal assistance and in some cases helps defray costs.
“Retaliation takes all different forms,” Sharyn Tejani, director of the fund, said. “Losing your job, losing shifts, losing pay — or if you’ve already lost your job, you can’t find another job in that industry.”
Also, Tejani noted, is the complication of the coronavirus pandemic.
“So now you have a situation where there’s incredibly high unemployment, some jobs are going away and never coming back, and so for all the reasons that people are afraid of reporting and afraid of being retaliated against, COVID-19 ... makes it so much worse and so much more problematic.”