Author Affiliation

Department of Social Work, Minnesota State University, Mankato

Document Type

Policy Advocacy Brief

Publication Date


Issue Statement/Executive Summary

According to a Star Tribune MN Poll, nearly 2 out of 3 women in the state of Minnesota have personally experienced sexual harassment. “It is estimated that over half of all women will experience some form of sexual harassment during college and/or their work lives” (Buchanan, 2008, p. 2). It is very difficult to track the true prevalence of sexual harassment because many women do not report. There are several reasons that victims do not report, some include “…the fear of retaliation or because they do not always recognize the offending behaviors as such” (Champion, 2010, p.3). In her Ted Talk, “How We Can End Sexual Harassment at Work," Gretchen Carlson stated that 71% of sexual harassment never gets reported. Many policies, including the whistle-blower policy, are set up to protect victims of sexual harassment from employer retaliation. However, there are many cases that victims experience negative backlashes causing psychological, physical, occupational, and economic harm. These effects significantly impact a victim's life. The main focus for this policy brief is to increase efforts to prevent employer retaliation against victim employees. Decreased employer retaliation would increase reporting by victims of sexual assault and result in prevention of sexual harassment overall. Our recommendation is to assemble a task force to further investigate the complexities of sexual harassment in its entirety.


Social Work



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