Tinsley comments on workplace harrassment

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Fast Company

In the U.S., even though the law has been in place for over 50 years, harassment persists, says Catherine Tinsley, PhD, because “men have more social status.” Tinsley, a professor of management at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, says that such sexual advances are a power play and a way to put a woman who is being particularly “uppity” in her place. “That’s not the way it should be,” she underscores. “It’s the way it is.” Which is why it is important to report any instance of harassment. Of course, sexual harassment doesn’t just happen to women, but it does happen to women more often. In 2013, for example, over 10,000 charges involving sexual harassment were brought to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), 82% of them by women. Tinsley notes, “You can never be fired for raising the issue, but know that when you escalate, [the company’s leadership] is compelled to investigate, and they can’t necessarily do it anonymously.” She understands that escalating a sexual harassment claim can make some people feel uncomfortable. That can be due to having to recount the incident(s) to others, or whether the employee trusts the company’s culture and processes or not.