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According to a new study, 35 percent of employees in California and across the U.S. have experienced some form of workplace harassment. Of those who have experienced harassment, approximately 50 percent report that the discrimination was linked to their gender. The study was conducted by Hiscox, a specialty insurer.

For the study, researchers surveyed 500 U.S. adults with full-time jobs. The participants of the study were 50 percent male and 50 percent female. Of those who reported experiencing sexual harassment, 78 percent said the perpetrator was a male while 73 percent said the perpetrator was a work superior. Overall, 41 percent of all female participants reported experiencing workplace harassment.

While a significant portion of the survey's participants said they had suffered harassment, 40 percent said they never reported the discrimination to human resources or law enforcement agencies. More than half said they declined to report their experiences because they feared speaking out could create a hostile workplace environment. Of those who did report their harassment, 37 percent felt their employer failed to handle the complaint properly. For women, that figure was nearly 50 percent.

State and federal laws protect California employees from workplace discrimination. Employees who feel they have experienced on-the-job harassment may benefit from seeking the advice of an employment attorney. The attorney could evaluate the details of the case and explain all legal remedies available. For instance, it may be helpful to file a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. If successful, this type of suit could help the employee obtain a settlement for damages, including back pay, front pay and punitive damages. Employers paid out almost $1 billion to settle harassment lawsuits between 2010 and 2017, according to the EEOC.

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