In the wake of sex scandals circulating around some of the most powerful men in Hollywood, the number of sexual harassment complaints in the workplace has skyrocketed in Los Angeles and all across our nation.
But the massive amounts of harassment complaints in the U.S. have turned the spotlight on yet another wide-spread issue: impotent human resources (HR) departments that fail to do anything about those complaints.
Fact: The impotent HR departments is nothing new, as a 2016 Equal Employment Opportunity Commission study revealed that 75% of female employees who had experienced unsolicited sexual advances and sexual harassment at work have never bothered to report it to their HR department out of fear of retaliation or not being taken seriously.
Fact #2: the study also revealed that of those who did report harassment incidents to their HR departments, 95% said no action was taken against the accused men.
What to do when your HR department does nothing or ignores your harassment complaints? This is the question we asked our skilled sexual harassment attorney in Los Angeles. And here’s your answer.
Uber taking hits for failing to address sexual harassment complaints
The media attention can make a serious difference when it comes to solving some of the decades-old problems in our society and the workplace.
Just like in the case of unveiling the disturbing scope of sexual harassment, the media has revealed just how ineffective and impotent HR departments are. And… it worked wonders.
This was the case in late October, when a female Uber employee who was sexually assaulted at work went to the company’s HR department, and they bluntly ignored her complaint.
But the woman – named Susan Fowler – didn’t stop there, and decided to make her allegations public, blaming Uber’s HR department for doing absolutely nothing to investigate her complaint and take action against the predator.
And her story went viral. Fowler wrote a blog post that triggered a chain of events that eventually led to the resignation of Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick, with the company announcing to overhaul its human resources practices and set up an anonymous hotline for employees such as Fowler to report any sexual harassment, abuse or inappropriate behavior in the workplace.
But if you don’t work for Uber, here’s what to do
But here’s the problem: not everybody works at Uber.
And the huge takeaway from Fowler’s story is this: if even a Uber co-founder can be brought down for his sexual misconduct in the workplace, you shouldn’t be afraid to come forward against smaller companies and less media-recognized employers.
But another problem is this: if you write a blog post detailing how a smaller company’s HR department ignored your sexual harassment complaint, the chances are it will go unnoticed and no action will be taken.
What to do in such a case? A Los Angeles sexual harassment attorney here at Rager & Yoon – Employment Lawyers advises you to seek legal advice about your particular case and consider alerting the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
After all, let’s not forget that the HR department was established to serve the company’s interests, not the interests of individual employees.
Fact #3: the job of the HR department is to minimize any reputational and legal damage to the company (meaning: human resources may not be looking out for you).
Bullet-proof ways to get your harassment complaint heard (without HR)
Going outside your company and getting legal help from an experienced sexual harassment attorney can make a huge difference when trying to get your complaint out there.
Some companies have established a poor reputation when it comes to HR practices, which is why it’s recommended to consult a Los Angeles harassment attorney to know whether or not you should report to the HR department in the first place (the risk of retaliation should never be ruled out).
Get in touch with our harassment attorney at Rager & Yoon – Employment Lawyers to schedule a free initial consultation and find out your best strategy when it comes to filing a harassment complaint.