Sexual Harrassement in the Wok Place
By Carmen Hubbs, Executive Director
On March 5th employers around the nation are honoring the hard work of their employees, many who have been especially burdened with the added stresses, changes and requirements to adjust to Coronavirus mandates. March 5th is Employee Appreciation Day and we thank and honor all the hard working people in Pagosa and beyond. You’ve all been truly amazing during the toughest times.
But what about when your workplace isn’t the most ‘supportive’? Sexual harassment in the workplace is very real and very hard not only on the individuals being harassed, but the
co-workers who witness it. Sexual harassment is any unwelcomed sexual advances and any verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature, including requests for sexual favors. Statistics show 27% of men and 59% of women experienced sexual harassment at work, 54% of women reported experience actual sexual assault that went beyond harassment. And, the percentage of sexually harassed workers was the biggest in rural areas, coming in at 26%, compared to 18% in suburban and 21% in urban areas.
Sexual harassment is nothing new, but one of the most surprising statistics was that during 2020 with the highest rate of remote working in American history, the rates of sexual harassment complaints increased by 8%. You would believe that you’re safer at home, right? Wrong. Cyber harassment is a growing trend where workers are being inundated with inappropriate sexual messages, memes, gifs, and videos.
Fortunately, workers are beginning to feel empowered to come forward, thanks to global movements like #MeToo and hollaback! Co-workers are more compelled to no longer idly standby but now actively get involved, calling out and reporting harassers. Harassers are finding that they are less and less in encouraging environments that allow the harassment to continue and escalate. More workers are outwardly supporting the victims.
For workers, you are now more than ever, protected by law. Report the incident to your supervisor. If they don’t respond appropriately, you have additional outlets for support including reporting to local and state agencies and legal counsel. Co-workers, you are also more protected with requirements for employers to have Whistleblower Policies that protect workers who report work-related issues they witness, like sexual harassment or other relevant grievances. And for the community of Pagosa, let’s change that rural statistic. Let’s not accept that rural towns are blind to these issues. Let’s ensure our fellow workers are safe and honored not just today, but every day.
Statistics from: https://goremotely.net/blog/sexual-harassment-in-the-workplace-statistics/
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