Sadly, sexual harassment victims often pay a high price for someone else’s repugnant actions, enduring mental trauma and career setbacks. Workplace ostracization and future employment difficulties are two very real consequences of reporting or taking legal action against such a terrifying ordeal. Although staying quiet seems like a safer option, it is not without risks.
Understanding what is at stake and ways to mitigate risks may provide some guidance before making any difficult decisions.
The hidden toll of sexual harassment on careers
People who courageously report sexual harassment often meet a cold, dismissive response. Sadly, blame often falls on the victims, particularly if the harasser is influential or popular. The ensuing isolation can make it difficult for victims to meet job expectations, secure promotions or stay at work.
Colleagues start distancing themselves or talking about the victim, while managers may exclude them from key projects. In such a toxic work environment, the sexual harassment victim is forced to quit, losing potential income, benefits and advancement opportunities.
Even people who take legal action may have difficulty getting future employment because potential employers may be wary of applicants with such a history.
Fighting sexual harassment does present a considerable risk to a person’s career. However, it may be worth exploring to regain control and dignity.
The importance of taking legal action
Choosing to stay in such a toxic work environment can take a toll on a person’s mental, emotional and physical well-being. Although staying silent may seem like a safer career move, it can lead to further isolation and harassment, as well as reprisals from the employer.
By standing up to the perpetrator, a victim can help put a stop to toxic workplaces and future incidents of harassment. Taking legal action may also allow the victim to recoup compensation for the professional and emotional damages they’ve endured.
It is unacceptable that victims of sexual harassment should bear the brunt of consequences caused by the recklessness of others. Still, it happens far too often. Bringing perpetrators to justice while protecting one’s career and reputation is a challenging endeavor, but the support of a competent and strategic legal team can make a difference.