Hearst Connecticut Media has published a series of reports on data that shows workplace sexual harassment and abuse remain a serious problem across all industries in the state.
Hearst reporters pored over five years of sexual harassment complaints filed with the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities or CHRO. Reporter Kaitlyn Krasselt told Connecticut Public Radio's Where We Live that commonly the outcome for people who complain about being sexually abused or harassed is far worse than the outcome for their abuser.
“Typically the harasser remains in their position, they are usually not the one transferred; that’s usually offered to the victim, which could hurt their career,” said Krasselt. “In only two of the 100 cases the man was terminated.”
Krasselt and reporter Emilie Munson also found that 28 of the 100 people who filed complaints were fired for coming forward. Krasselt called that a “heartbreaking statistic.”
Krasselt said victims of sexual harassment or abuse often will not come forward for financial reasons.
“These are just regular people who often don’t have the privilege to go without work,” said Krasselt. “They need these jobs.”
Tanya Hughes, executive director of the CHRO, said she’s confident a new state law that took effect on Oct. 1 will help curb the number of sexual abuse and harassment complaints her office sees each year.
She pointed to one provision of the new law that ensures that every employee in Connecticut undergoes sexual harassment training.
“By requiring employers to make certain that all employees know that this is not acceptable, most times it will also put attention and emphasis on the employer to create those type of policies and reinforce them and reinforce the training on a regular basis,” said Hughes.
The new law also gives employees up to 300 days to file a sexual harassment complaint with the CHRO from the time of the incident. Previously it was 180 days.