Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name





Barriers to Reporting Sexual Harassment, Encouraging Reporting Sexual Harassment, Improving the Workplace, Sexual Harassment Policies, Sexual Harassment Reporting, Workplace Sexual Harassment


Greg A. Chung-Yan




Sexual harassment in the workplace has high prevalence rates and is associated with numerous negative outcomes. This study investigated why individuals choose not to report sexual harassment even when organizational policies designed to discourage and punish harassment are in place. An organizational climate intolerant of harassment; co-worker support; ease of reporting; policy awareness and perceived effectiveness; and employee attitudes about reporting harassment were the factors examined to determine whether they could help the disclosure and reporting of sexual harassment. A theory of reporting intentions was developed incorporating elements of the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) to explain the underlying reasons why people intend to formally or informally report sexual harassment if they were to experience or witness it. A sample of 305 full-time working Canadians (153 males and 152 females) from various industries were recruited to complete an online questionnaire. It was found that positive awareness and attitudes toward the effectiveness of organizational harassment policies predicted people’s intentions to report witnessed or experienced sexual harassment. Also, organizations with an environment that does not tolerate sexual harassment (i.e., climate) predicts more favorable attitudes both towards the process of reporting sexual harassment and the actual intentions to report sexual harassment. It was also found that males believe they are more likely to report sexual harassment than females. Findings from this study can give guidance to organizations and policy makers as to how to create and implement policies that encourage the reporting of sexual harassment when it occurs, making it more likely people will actually make use of organizational policies.