Protecting your rights in the workplace.

How Do Sexual Harassment Myths Keep the Cycle of Abuse Going?

Some people may believe that sexual harassment doesn’t happen often, but movements like #MeToo are correcting this misconception. Harassment comes in many forms, and myths like this can help perpetuate a culture that condones misbehavior. Here are three more myths that also contribute to blinding workers about the truth of sexual harassment.

Myth 1: Real Victims Will Report Harassment Immediately

In a perfect world, the victims of sexual harassment would report incidents as soon as they happen. However, real life is far more complicated. Real victims are often scared of embarrassment, persecution and retaliation, so they don’t speak out as a result. A report from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) also points out that somewhere between 87 to 94 percent of harassment victims don’t file a complaint after an incident. This can be due to fear, forced arbitration or nondisclosure agreements. California law has recently changed to prevent employers from silencing these individuals.

Myth 2: Eccentric Geniuses Deserve Leeway

Some people believe that when someone is talented enough, it excuses their bad behavior. This culture of looking the other way is especially common in Hollywood, Silicon Valley and other areas around California known for fostering the arts. There is a perception that these stars must be protected because they are valuable. However, this is another lie that masks the truth about sexual harassment. The EEOC actually found that work environments that avoided toxic workers actually save twice as much as “geniuses” produce.

Myth 3: Blue-Collar Environments Are Typically Crude

There’s a perception that blue-collar workplaces tend to be rough. This leads some to accept the degrading behavior, lewd comments and sharing of explicit materials that can happen at these businesses. This is a terrible misconception. Blue-collar workplaces are expected to maintain a comfortable, non-hostile work environment. A United States District Judge even commented that a “blue-collar” environment does not absolve employers from failing to provide a safe and comfortable work space.

There are still many other myths about sexual harassment in the workplace that need to be eliminated once and for all. Keep following the employment law attorneys at Yadegar, Minoofar & Soleymani LLP to find out more about these myths and how to fight them.