A common problem for workers in Washington D.C. and the surrounding areas is sexual harassment. This is true despite greater attention paid to the issue and people who are subjected to the workplace violation being encouraged to report it. Even though people who are in the private sector might be perceived as more vulnerable to illegal treatment at work, it also happens in the public sector. A recent report says that workers at the U.S. State Department are sexually harassed with a worrisome frequency. To make matters worse, they are reluctant to report it because they fear nothing will be done to put a stop to it. In fact, they are concerned that it can negatively impact their own job prospects and advancement.
Internal review shows gaps in addressing sexual harassment at State Department
The inspector general issued the report regarding sexual harassment at the department. It says that from 2014 to 2017, there was an increase in harassment by 63%. Many who work there say that there was a substantial underreporting of these incidents. According to the survey, 47% of workers who were harassed or saw others being harassed did not report it. Reasons for their lack of reporting included not believing that the department would deal with it appropriately, concerns about being retaliated against, and a reluctance to speak about it.
The department had been vigilant about raising awareness to the problem, but those in positions of authority were not given information on how it should be reported. This sowed uncertainty as to what should be done. For its part, a statement from the department said that it takes these allegations very seriously and there are policies to address it when allegations are made. This was a continuing problem at government agencies with harassment and the claims being mishandled. A letter was written in 2017 in which more than 200 female employees who worked in national security said they faced sexual harassment or knew others who had.
Legal help for federal employees dealing with illegal behavior
For those who work at a federal agency and are dealing with illegal behavior or mistreatment, it is important to know they have rights. Whether they are being sexually harassed, are being unfairly disciplined, are whistleblowers exposing wrongdoing, have been discriminated against or are confronted with any other employment-related issue, it is wise to have legal assistance from the start. Consulting with an experienced firm that understands employment law for workers and can navigate the federal terrain is imperative. Calling for a consultation is vital to achieve justice.