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Reporting sexual misconduct to HR isn’t always effective

| Nov 9, 2019 | Firm News |

In the wake of the MeToo movement, countless industries have seen an increase in sexual harassment claims. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, sexual misconduct complaints increased 13.6% in 2018.

People may wonder why some employees don’t bring their case to Human Resources rather than filing a complaint or going to court. That’s because some have found their HR departments to be unhelpful in these situations.

One workerexperience

In a recent story, a woman named Maya said a wealthy board member sexually harassed her. At first, she tried to manage the situation herself by deflecting unwanted comments about her appearance and politely asking the alleged harasser to stop calling her pet names. However, Maya became upset when another high-ranking figure reportedly made inappropriate advances towards a college intern. That’s when she decided to bring her complaint to HR.

Unfortunately, the department allegedly did nothing. According to the report, HR officials did not give a timeline or share updates regarding an investigation. Eventually, as her efforts continued to go nowhere, Maya resigned from her position, disappointed that her claim was not taken seriously.

Why investigations dont always go through

In a perfect world, workplaces would be more willing to address sexual harassment claims and promptly talk to employees who reported being victimized. Yet, some HR departments can be slow to respond to such concerns, even though half of the profession is made up of women. That’s because women often still face gender inequalities, especially when responding to male executives.

What to do when HR doesnt help

Luckily, going directly to Human Resources isn’t the only way to report harassment. Here are some alternatives workers can try:

  • Take their report directly to the manager if they feel they can trust them.
  • File a complaint with the EEOC.
  • If an employee is fired for talking to management or making an EEOC complaint, they can file a retaliation claim.

Victims of harassment deserve a voice

While employers are legally obligated to protect employees from a hostile work environment, HR may not always encourage leaders to fire harassers. While employers nowadays are often ready to face sexual harassment lawsuits with a strong front, victims still have options available for seeking legal help.