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Why are Employees So Reluctant to Report Harassment in the Workplace?

report harassmentHarassment in the workplace is a serious issue that harms both the victim and the company. Harassment affects thousands of employees every day, but we only ever hear about a few of these cases. Many fail to ever speak up due to their fear of retaliation or retribution. Others worry nobody will believe them. Some aren’t sure they interpreted the incident correctly and still others feel humiliated by their experience.

Instead of reporting the harassment, they try to ignore it. Some quit their jobs to get away from the problem without ever facing it and putting an end to it. Sadly, they become unheard victims and the harasser never changes.

Why Would Someone Choose Not to Report Harassment in the Workplace?

They’re Concerned about Retaliation

Perhaps the most common reason harassment goes unreported is because the harassed fear retaliation.

Many employees think their employers will strike back against them for reporting misconduct in the workplace. They don’t want to lose their job by speaking up.

Your employer cannot fire you for reporting misconduct. You have a right to take legal action if your employer punishes you for reporting harassment or any type of wrongdoing. It’s always better to speak up and do what’s needed to improve your situation.

They Assume Misconduct is a Normal Part of the Workplace

Young people just entering the workforce might assume harassment is normal. Others have only ever worked for employers who ignore harassment. They believe that dealing with harassment is the norm.

This is not the case.

Nobody should face harassment at work. You have the right to speak up if you’re being harassed or you believe your employer mistreated you in some way. Harassment is not normal and you should never accept it as the norm.

They Don’t Want to Cause Trouble

Nobody wants to be a troublemaker. They just want to do their job and collect their pay and benefits. For this reason, many people choose not to report harassment. They don’t want to cause problems and create a stir.

Unfortunately, harassers know this and often target people they know won’t speak up.

Never worry about looking like a troublemaker by reporting harassment. You aren’t the one causing trouble. You’re trying to stop trouble for yourself and other harassment victims.

They Don’t Want to Be Blacklisted

Some people choose not to report harassment because they are concerned it will affect their ability to find work elsewhere in their industry. They think it might hurt their long-term career opportunities and they don’t want a reputation as someone who complains.

Blacklisting does exist, but the only way to combat it is to report harassment when it occurs. As long as you are professional and the information you report is factual, you don’t need to worry about the long-term consequences of reporting harassment.

Reach out to a supervisor or HR representative about cases of harassment. They should help you file a formal complaint. By speaking up, you can help to create a safer and more respectful workplace for everyone.

If you’ve reported harassment and the issue continued, you might have a right to pursue legal action. For more information or to schedule a consultation to discuss your situation, contact Borrelli & Associates, P.L.L.C. to schedule a free consultation.


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