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Sexual Harassment Policies in Workplaces Favor Employers

October 8th, 2018

Philadelphia sexual harassment lawyers fight for victims even though policies favor employers.A new Harvard Business Review article points out that companies who are doing their best to curb sexual harassment are unlikely to eliminate it. Victims who are brave enough to take the company to court, only 25 percent of women who are harassed file a complaint internally or take their case to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), often find the courts are stacked against them.

The Problem with Symbolic Structures

Internally, Human Resource departments often dismiss complaints as personality conflicts. Courts tend to side with the employer for the sole reason that the company has a written policy on sexual harassment. Unenforced policies are known as symbolic structures in the workplace. They make the company sound committed to the idea of justice, but they make it harder for harassed workers to be heard.

The study found evidence of good intentions regarding harassment in the workplace was often enough to avoid having to compensate those who have been discriminated against. Essentially, employers are forgiven for allowing discrimination to occur if they can point to an anti-discrimination message in their employee manual.

The study combed through more than a thousand relevant cases from 1965 to 1999, and another 164 decisions since 1999. The overwhelming tendency in these cases was for judges to regard written policies and procedures as evidence of seriousness in fighting harassment and discrimination, even when serious harassment was evident.

What Employers Must Do

If employers are serious about reducing workplace harassment, they need to go beyond policies and procedures, or have policies and procedures backed by swift and certain action. One key to effecting this is to place more women in positions of management and leadership. That is happening, but too slowly, and there will always be companies that fail to take anti-harassment measures seriously. Companies should also eliminate any factors that may constitute or encourage harassment, including powerful position hierarchies, events containing alcohol, and isolated workplaces.

Philadelphia Sexual Harassment Lawyers at The Gold Law Firm P.C. Fight for Victims of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

You cannot expect courts to accept your claim that the work environment is toxic or that you have been abused. The experienced Philadelphia sexual harassment lawyers at The Gold Law Firm P.C. are not afraid to challenge this kind of thinking. We will fight for your rights and obtain the justice you deserve. Our office is in Philadelphia, and we proudly serve clients throughout Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, and throughout New Jersey. Call us at 215-569-1999 or contact us online for a free and confidential consultation.

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