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Workers Report Behavior But Fear Retaliation and Doubt It Will Be Investigated

Nov 7, 2019

In the wake of #MeToo, employees have been emboldened to report inappropriate, illegal and unethical behavior. A survey by my company, HR Acuity, found 56% of employees have experienced or witnessed such behavior in the workplace; 64% have reported it. But our data also shows a troubling trend: 39% of employees aren’t confident their issues will be addressed fairly if they do come forward, and 46% are uncertain and fear retaliation.

Unfortunately, it seems their concerns are well-grounded in experience. Of the 64% of employees who reported inappropriate or unethical behavior, only half saw the issue actually investigated. That’s a troubling reflection on the employers, HR and employee relations teams whose job it is to ensure a fair, equitable and safe environment. It reinforces the belief that reporting issues to HR is pointless because since HR works for the company, they’ll be inclined to protect the employer, leaving the employee hanging out to dry.