One of the problems with sexual harassment in the workplace is that a lot of instances actually go unreported. These reports may also be delayed. For instance, one employee may come forward with a story about harassment that he or she faced, and then multiple other employees may step forward and say that the same thing happened to them.
Whenever this happens, people inevitably ask why these individuals didn’t report it right away. They will sometimes say this as if it devalues their claim. It does not. There are clear and obvious reasons why reports aren’t always made on time and that says nothing about the validity of those reports. Let’s look at some of the most common reasons.
They’re worried about retaliation
Perhaps the most common reason that people don’t say anything is because they think that the company is going to retaliate against them for speaking up. An employee may feel like they are dependent upon their boss to move up the corporate ladder, for example. But if the boss is the one who is harassing them and they report it to HR, does that mean that they’re going to be fired or they won’t get the promotions that they’re after?
They don’t think people will believe them
Another potential issue is that victims sometimes don’t think anyone is going to believe what happened. They may even be worried that they are going to get blamed. They simply don’t want to put themselves in such a difficult situation if they’re not confident that making the report is actually going to help.
They’re not sure how to prove it
In some cases, victims know that they’ve been wronged and they want to speak out, but they’re unsure how they can prove that it really happened. Many sexual harassment incidents only involve two people in the workplace at the same time. It’s very important to know about various types of evidence, such as text messages, email messages, security videos, interviews with witnesses, a diary of events and much more.
If you’ve been facing harassment and you’ve decided that it’s time to speak up, be sure you know exactly what legal steps to take.