Three years after the #MeToo movement brought workplace sexual harassment into the spotlight, a new study shows a disturbing result – nearly three-quarters of the people reporting harassment say they were retaliated against for complaining.

The National Women’s Law Center report says seven out of 10 workers, who reported being sexually harassed at work, faced consequences, up to and including being fired. The study analyzed more than 3,000 requests for legal help from the Law Center’s Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund between January 2018 and April 2020.

Study findings show rampant harassment continues

While the most glaring result in the Law Center’s study shows a shocking number of retaliation claims, the survey finds workplace harassment affects workers’ economic, physical and financial well-being. Other key findings include:

  • 36% said they were fired for reporting harassment
  • 19% experienced poor job performance reviews or were otherwise treated poorly
  • 64% reported harassment to their employers instead of law enforcement or the government
  • 29% said nothing was done about their complaint
  • 19% said harassment damaged their mental health

More than half of the people identified a supervisor as the harasser.

The pandemic increases fears over reporting harassment

Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund Director Sharyn Tejani told the Associated Press that the coronavirus presents many complications over reporting harassment. With unemployment extremely high, fewer people report harassment over the fear of losing their job or facing other forms of retaliation.

Due to those concerns, unscrupulous employers and supervisors gain more power knowing many workers are too afraid to report deplorable behavior in the workplace. However, the study shows some positive news in that more workers are coming forward to report harassment.