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Federal sector sexual harassment: harmful but addressable

On Behalf of | Apr 13, 2021 | Employee Discrimination

It’s generally a one-and-done deal when it comes to experiencing sexual harassment in a federal workplace, right?

Put another way: As obviously unpleasant as it is to be on the receiving end of such conduct, isn’t mistreatment doled out by a manager or coworker typically confined to a single instance and easily rectified?

That might be a commonly held view, but there is no truth attached to it. In fact, on-the-job sexual harassment suffered by both female and male workers is a pernicious and recurrent harm in federal work environments spanning the country.

And when it occurs, it is often coupled with repeated acts of maltreatment that – when left unchecked – become part of a pattern that can yield devastating consequences for targeted individuals. Sexual harassment in federal employment venues across the United States is a problem of outsized and troubling dimensions that often requires a quick and aggressive legal response.

How prevalent is on-the-job sexual harassment?

Employees engaged in government positions and with private companies alike collectively suffer a high rate of sexual harassment. A recent national survey prominently notes this:

  • 81% of female workers and more than 40% of their male colleagues state that they have been sexually harassed at work one or more times; and
  • 11,000-plus sexual harassment claims came under review last year by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

That high level of adverse reporting highlights both the ongoing nature of unlawful workplace behavior and victims’ frequent inability to stop it quickly or easily by themselves or through internal channels.

A broad band of empirical evidence underscores the often ineffectual results secured by reaching out to a company’s HR department for assistance or trying to deal directly with an offender. Victims are sometimes portrayed as troublemakers and further harmed by reprisal actions such as demotions, pay cuts and even job termination.

Sexual harassment identification and safeguards

Workplace harassment victims should reasonably feel empowered rather than helpless when contemplating a purposeful response to wrongdoing. Timely consultation with an experienced and results-driven employment law legal team will quickly reveal the robust protections accorded them under both federal and state laws.

Here’s a point concerning on-the-job sexual harassment: If you’re bothered – annoyed, frightened, intimidated or otherwise – by sexually tinged behavior directed at you, it’s quite likely that you are suffering from unlawful conduct. That behavior can take on many forms, including these:

  • Unwanted touching
  • Jokes, comments, pictures, gestures and any other forms of communication that are sexually explicit or suggestive
  • Sexual demands of any sort
  • Stalking behavior (e.g., social media engagement and/or tailing activities near home or in public places)

Sexual harassment is understandably a frightening and even horrifying experience for virtually any victim.

It is also a flat taboo under a host of strongly protective American laws. A proven employment law attorney can help a victim fight back and often secure both a complete prohibition of such conduct and maximum compensation for any harm it has done.


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