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Is Filing A Sexual Harassment Case Worth It?

April 16, 2012 by rochelle in Business with 0 Comments


Sexual harassment is a serious issue and advocates continuously encourage women to file a complaint if this happens. But is filing a sexual harassment case worth it?

A study conducted by the Queensland University of Technology revealed that half of the sexual harassment complaints resulted to a financial settlement of only $7,000 and below.

The amount is surprising considering that high-profile cases like the David Jones case awarded $850,000 to Kristy Fraser-Kirk.

Paula McDonald said money is not often the victim’s motivation when filing a sexual harassment case. She added that when a man is the victim, the perpetrator is also most likely to be another man.

McDonald is the co-author of the report and an associate professor of Queensland University of Technology. The report was co-written by University of South Australia’s Sara Charlesworth.

The study took a look at sexual harassment cases in the workplace filed over six months in 2009. These covered formal complaints filed in the Australian Human Rights Commission, and state and territory anti-discrimination commissions.

The study showed that out of 284 formal complaints, only 266 were accepted by the commissions. From the 266 cases, only 50 percent were settled.

McDonald, however, noted that settlements do not automatically mean financial. Settlement can also be in the form of an apology, acknowledgment of the incidence or statement of regret.

The tracking showed that 10 percent of the cases resulted to the perpetrator resigning from his job or was dismissed by the employer.

Most notable is that 60 percent of the complainants left the company or was also dismissed by the company. McDonald said this is an alarming statistic because it appeared that the complainant suffered twice—one, the sexual harassment and two, resignation or dismissal from the company.

The median financial settlement of $7,000 doesn’t seem worth it.

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