In the era of #MeToo, sexual harassment in the workplace is at the forefront of employment matters. A new study published in the Harvard Business Journal found that when companies take allegations of sexual harassment seriously, so do the employees. The study involved 618 online participants who read a brief statement of a fictional company about the results of a sexual harassment survey taken by its employees. The factual information was the same, but the company response to those facts was different. Some participants read as part of the prompt a quote from the CEO emphasizing the severity of the problem, such as “The results of the survey are very alarming.” Others read a CEO quote downplaying the issue, such as: “We are skeptical that the survey represents an accurate rate of sexual harassment at Soldola.”
The article reports that those who read the “skeptical” statement were less likely to rate sexual harassment a high-priority problem at the company, while those who read the message about the leader taking sexual harassment seriously were more likely to rate it a high-priority problem. Trend remained constant no matter the participants’ gender or political affiliation.
Another report indicates that for every employee who is sexually harassed, the company loses on average $22,500 in lost productivity. This is a substantial number, one that should be encouraging more employers to address sexual harassment. And, while companies may not wish to publicly admit that they have an ongoing sexual harassment problem, those that respond with serious, genuine concern are more likely to have more satisfied employees who believe they can trust their employer.
If you believe you have been the victim of sexual harassment or retaliation, please consider contacting the lawyers at the Bullman Law Firm. We represent workers, not employers. Our phone number is 503-987-0000. There is no charge for your phone call.