Law Offices of Lauren Abrams blog

Reasons women do not report sexual harassment

Some California employees may have faced workplace sexual harassment that they did not report for fear of harming their career. Even with a supportive boss and a company that would not turn a blind eye to this behavior, there can be other repercussions.

For example, one woman faced this dilemma when she received an email from a client she would be meeting on a business trip saying that they would have to share a hotel room if no others were available. She considered replying to say that she wanted to keep things professional, but the client was worth so much to her company that she did not want to risk offending him. She also considered telling her boss, who she knew would be sympathetic, but she feared her boss would respond by removing her from the account. In the end, she told no one and went on the business trip.

The client acted professionally until he attempted to kiss her in the elevator after a night out. The woman quickly got out and the two continued to work together, but she always felt stress when she had to deal with him. However, she was also concerned that what happened would not meet the standards for sexual harassment anyway because she had not told him to stop.

As this story illustrates, sexual harassment in the workplace can be a complex issue. An employee might resist reporting it for a number of reasons, and as this employee recognized, not every incident rises to the level of legally actionable sexual harassment. Many people may not know that they are legally protected from harassment from company customers and clients as well as supervisors and co-workers. A person who has been a victim of such behavior might want to speak to an attorney to discuss the best course of action.

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