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Employers and employees disagree on workplace harassment

The national conversation regarding sexual harassment shows no sign of slowing down. Since multiple women accused Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of assault, workplace harassment has become a hot-button issue. The dialogue has prompted many employees to speak out about their experiences with harassment, and encouraged many employers to crack down on it.

However, employers and their workers seem to have very different ideas on the prevalence of sexual harassment in the workplace. New studies suggest that employers have a much rosier view of their anti-harassment efforts than employees do.

The disconnect between employers and employees

The Brunswick Group, a public relations firm, surveyed 1,000 working Americans. While 70 percent of leaders feel strongly that their workplace does not tolerate harassment, fewer than half of workers outside of leadership agree. In fact, 25 percent of respondents outside of leadership say that they saw or heard an incident of sexual harassment in the past year.

Another survey from the Society for Human Resource Management shows that 75 percent of executives are satisfied or very satisfied with their companies’ anti-harassment efforts. But 60 percent of employees say that their companies have not updated or changed their workplace harassment policies.

Harassment is still prevalent

This research suggests that workers and leaders have significantly different views on harassment. While management may believe that an organization is adequately addressing workplace harassment, many employees disagree.

These studies emphasize that for many people, sexual harassment is an everyday part of their job. However, it does not have to be. Whether a leader or an entry-level worker, no one should experience this treatment. Everyone has the right to a workplace that is free from sexual misconduct. Anyone who experiences harassment of any kind in the workplace can seek legal counsel to advise them of their rights and options.

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