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Andrew Rodman, of Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadeff & Sitterson in Miami. Andrew Rodman, of Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadeff & Sitterson in Miami.

Allegations of sexual harassment and assault have hit the news almost daily over the last several weeks, with fingers pointing at Hollywood “A-Listers,” corporate executives, politicians, journalists, etc., etc., etc.

Many of the allegations have been raised years, or even decades, after the harassment allegedly occurred. Why have the victims, both men and women, waited so long to come forward? Many reportedly were afraid that coming forward would be career-ending. By remaining silent, those victims internalized the harm, and, in some cases, continued to endure further harassment by the same perpetrators. Their silence also may have enabled the perpetrators to harass other victims.

The Fear of Retaliation

In the “real world,” beyond Hollywood and Capitol Hill, how can companies eliminate the fear of retaliation that deters victims of harassment from coming forward immediately? Perhaps it’s time to reexamine the complaint mechanism in the typical anti-harassment policy found in employee handbooks.

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