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Study reveals facts about workplace harassment

According to a study by Hiscox, a specialty insurer, 35 percent of workers in California and across the U.S. believe they have experienced harassment in the workplace. Of those who said they'd experienced harassment, 50 percent thought it was because of their gender, 78 percent said the harasser was a man and 73 percent said the harasser was in a higher position. Hiscox surveyed 250 men and 250 women who were full-time employees.

Seniority and gender are important factors when it comes to harassment in the workplace, but there are other elements as well. The data indicated that some workplace harassment is perpetrated by women toward men, and some of the harassment is committed by people of the same sex. Some workplace harassment originates from vendors or customers as well. Forty-one percent of women said they had experienced harassment in the workplace.

Forty percent of the people who said they'd been harassed did not report the incident to law enforcement or the company. The most common reason given for not reporting harassment was a fear that doing so would lead to a hostile work environment. Of those who reported incidents of harassment, 37 percent said the behavior was not handled properly by the employer. Millennials were the generation most likely to say they had experienced harassment at 46 percent as well as the most likely to report it. Thirty-five percent of the members of Generation X reported being harassed.

People in California who believe they've been harassed at work might have claims for monetary damages. An attorney with experience handling sexual harassment cases might be able to help by deposing witnesses or gathering evidence in anticipation of trial. A lawyer may be able to negotiate a settlement with the company or, if the case cannot be settled, draft and file a civil court complaint for damages.

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