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Employees in Colorado have a legal right to work in a space that is free from hostility, discrimination and harassment. Unfortunately, harassment still occurs and it often takes on a sexual nature.
Companies frequently go out of their way to implement policies that address this issue, but it’s still not easy for someone to report sexual harassment. Why is this the case?
Fear of repercussions
Anyone can be targeted by sexual harassment but it commonly occurs between a supervisor and an employee. Harassment is often more about power than attraction, and the higher up may try to assert their dominance through harassment.
This type of harassment can lead to the targeted individual feeling unable to report the behavior due to a fear of repercussions. (This might even be tied to the inappropriate conduct, with the supervisor threatening to have the employee fired if they say anything.) To overcome this, companies have a duty to implement impartial and confidential procedures so that harassment can be tackled without fear of repercussions.
Fear of not being believed
Sexual harassment can happen to people from all backgrounds. Nonetheless, there are many work environments that are still largely male-dominated. For a female colleague, this can make reporting harassment very intimidating. Will they be believed? Will their counterparts at work turn against them? Will they be accused of not being able to take a joke?
Companies should make it as easy as possible for sexual harassment to be reported. If this is something that has impacted you at work, seeking legal guidance will help you to feel less isolated.