Articles

Ensuring the Laws Barring Sexual Harassment Protect the Reticent Victim – American University Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law

November 12, 2021

By Joseph M. Sellers and Aniko R. Schwarcz

According to multiple employee surveys, sexual harassment is one of the most underreported forms of abuse in the workplace. There are a number of reasons that reportedly account for this reluctance to complain about sexual harassment. They include the potential shame, embarrassment, and fear that may accompany reports of sexual harassment and the blame and heightened scrutiny of the victim that may be prompted by these complaints. Unlike most other forms of discrimination, where their presence may be inferred from patterns observed in workforce data, sexual harassment is typically undetectable and certainly not actionable unless it is the subject of a legally cognizable complaint. This brief Article poses whether, and if so to what extent, the legal framework for addressing sexual harassment imposes unrealistic obligations on victims of this misconduct and, if so, whether there are strategies that practitioners can employ to help overcome these obstacles.

Download the article from American Univerity Washington College of Law website here.