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Racial and sexual harassment are still pervasive in the workplace

Every employee -- whether here in Texas or elsewhere -- is entitled to a safe and hospitable workplace. It would be nice to believe that in today's diverse and tolerant society, hostilities caused by racial or sexual harassment would be a thing of the past. Unfortunately, these and other types of harassing behaviors remain pervasive in the workplace.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently reported that of the nearly 90,000 complaints it received in the last fiscal year, an alarming one-third alleged harassment in the workplace. The report goes on to say that approximately 60 percent of workers experienced some sort of harassment based on race or ethnicity. In some cases, when workers complain about how they are being treated, they are terminated for their trouble.

The percentages of LGBT workers who experience similar harassment are also high. In fact, the EEOC report indicates that up to 41 percent were either verbally or physically abused in the workplace. Derogatory comments regarding gender identity and sexual orientation seem to be commonplace. Instances of these and other hostile behaviors are grossly under-reported, which makes it difficult for the atmosphere to change.

No one is blaming the person being subjected to racial or sexual harassment at work. However, every Texas worker is responsible for helping to change a work environment that is hostile and/or unsafe for even one person. Those who are being harassed owe themselves and others the chance to feel comfortable at work by exercising their legal rights and seeking to hold those responsible fully accountable for their actions.

Source:, "Harassment Is Still a Massive Problem in the American Workplace", Mark Joseph Stern, June 20, 2016

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