Harassment in the Retail Industry

Harassment in the Retail Industry Work Shield Blog

Holiday shopping season is around the corner, and the retail industry is gearing up for the biggest sale days of the year. But as many focus on purchasing the perfect gifts, there are a number of employees working behind the register and in all aspects of retail, who are facing workplace harassment.  

Retail Risk Factors for Harassment 

First, it’s important to understand why the retail industry ranks as the second-highest industry for harassment, with 13.44% of EEOC sexual harassment claims coming from retail workers. Being a decentralized workplace is one of the factors that make these places of employment vulnerable to unwanted toxic behavior. With corporate offices far removed from the front-line, managers may be unaccountable for their behavior or their team’s behavior. Also, it’s likely that managers are unaware or ill-equipped to handle workplace harassment issues and feel hesitant to contact the corporate office for direction. 

Another risk factor that fosters workplace harassment in retail is the heavy reliance on customer service and client transactions. When compensation is directly tied to customer satisfaction, employees may feel pressured to tolerate unwanted behavior. Statistics show that in 2020, over half of all retail workers were ages 16 to 34. Young workforces can create a space for workplace harassment, since a younger employee in his or her first job might be less aware of workplace norms and laws, making them more susceptible to harassment. Additionally, women are more likely to work in retail jobs, and studies have found that women have a higher probability of being harassed in the workplace. 

How Work Shield is the Solution

The average cost to defend and settle a workplace misconduct claim is $160K. Work Shield is the complete misconduct solution that creates more positive, inclusive and equitable cultures while mitigating these liability costs. 

  • Safe Reporting: Nearly 60% of observed workplace misconduct goes unreported, according to recent research from Gartner. It’s time to cultivate a space where employees have confidence reporting misconduct in the workplace. Work Shield offers safe, secure reporting via the Work Shield Portal or by speaking directly with a team member. The combination of tech solutions and human touch makes our system efficient and effective, which contributes to our success in helping organizations resolve misconduct six times faster than the national average.
  • Investigations: Impartial investigations of incidents are crucial in resolving workplace misconduct. The EEOC recommends that all organizations have a clear harassment policy which includes a statement that the employer will provide a prompt, impartial, and thorough investigation. Once an incident is reported, a Work Shield Certified legal professional begins an impartial investigation and reaches out to everyone involved.
  • Resolutions: Our legal professionals focus on fair resolutions. Once the investigation is concluded, we provide a personalized, objective resolution recommendation to the employer. This process reduces organizational risk and provides peace of mind to those involved, demonstrating that their concerns have been heard, investigated and resolved. 

As the shopping season begins in full force, Work Shield is the solution for retail businesses and all organizations that are ready to elevate company culture by creating a safe, equitable and inclusive work environment where all employee voices are heard.

Read more about types of harassment and how to report them in our blog.

About Jared Pope

Jared is Founder and CEO of Work Shield, the only start-to-finish workplace harassment and discrimination reporting, investigation and resolution solution that protects employees, employers and cultures at the same time. Jared practiced law and ran a practice focused on human resources, ERISA, benefits and employment matters for over 15 years and is a knowledgeable resource on workplace culture and harassment and discrimination issues.

Connect with him on LinkedIn.


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