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Consequences of sexual harassment in the workplace

Sexual harassment in the workplace

Sexual harassment is not just talking in the locker room, a compliment, an “innocent” flirtation or an invitation to a cup of coffee. Workplace harassment is a discriminatory behavior pattern that creates a hostile work environment based on a protected class. It can include verbal abuse, abuse of power, sexual pro quo and abuse such as unwanted caresses. Harassment at work has a negative impact on all employees, including decreased productivity, low morale and increasing turnover.

What is sexual harassment?

Harassment is a form of employment discrimination that violates many federal and state laws. Persistent sexual harassment, unwanted sexual suggestions, verbal harassment and / or requests for sexual favors. The behavior becomes illegal when long-term harassment is a condition of continued employment and creates a hostile or intimidating environment. If an employer has more than a handful of employees, potential harassment will be a problem. In 2016, 12,860 sexual harassment complaints were filed against the EEOC. Every third woman experiences harassment in the workplace, yet 70 percent say they have never reported it.

Impact of Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment can affect anyone because it creates an environment that makes it difficult for employees to succeed. Possible effects of sexual harassment in the workplace include:

Physical and emotional problems

Victims of sexual harassment often experience emotional and psychological harm, including stress, depression and anxiety. They often experience low self-esteem and self-esteem. Physical health issues such as sleep loss, appetite, weight fluctuations, nausea, and headaches may occur.

Occupational and Financial Problems

Sexual harassment also leads to chaos in the jobs and professions of victims. Fear and diminished self-confidence can cause some people to turn down jobs and reject colleagues. They are more likely to be late, absent, distracted, and neglect tasks. When victims of sexual harassment report harassment, they may face procedural errors, such as promotion, assignment, retaliation, and rioting. Financial problems such as lost wages and unpaid leave are also possible.

Reduction in company productivity

Sexual harassment is also harmful to the organization. When discrimination and harassment plague a workplace, everyone suffers. The hostility created by bullying leads to absenteeism, low morale, gossip, hostility, stress and anxiety among staff. Low productivity is more common in environments with a high degree of sexual harassment. Victims and witnesses of sexual harassment are more likely to quit, leading to higher labor turnover and increased recruitment and related training costs. Toxic environments will also make it more difficult to recruit highly skilled workers.

Disputes and reputation

A company’s failure to adequately prevent and treat sexual harassment can lead to costly litigation. Over the last decade, we have won amazing jury awards in cases of sexual harassment. A jury awarded $ 17.4 million to plaintiffs in a case brought by the EEOC involving rape and sexual harassment by three male supervisors at a Florida packaging plant. And $18 million has been awarded in a case against a New York Global Group CEO for retaliation against his former employee after she spurned his advances. Widespread cases of sexual harassment can damage a company’s reputation. results in lost business

Anti-harassment policies and training

Employers should develop anti-harassment programs that foster a welcoming culture where everyone feels like a valued member of their team and attracts talented applicants. Company needs a policy on harassment:

  • Define harassment and provide examples.

  • Indicate that bullying is not tolerated.

  • Explain the harassment reporting system to a specific HR person to report a complaint.

  • Communicate the disciplinary consequences of harassment.

  • Describe the inspection and repair process.

  • States that retaliation against employees who report harassment is prohibited.

Employers must take care of high standards of employees and themselves. Everyone has the right to a workplace free from harmful harassment, and all employees should be expected to act like professional adults in the workplace. Harassment in the workplace can not only lead to costly lawsuits, it can also create a toxic culture that undermines team cohesion and undermines productivity.