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What are the effects of sexual harassment in the workplace?

The consequences

The consequences of sexual harassment in the workplace are as serious as they are long-lasting. Clearly, victims of sexual harassment are the most affected. These include psychological consequences such as depression and repressed anger. The impact of sexual harassment in the workplace also includes physical and financial problems.

However, it is not only victims who experience sexual harassment. Sexual harassment also affects the victim’s employees, their departments and the company. It even affects society as a whole.

If you think you have been the victim of sexual harassment at work, it is important to know that you are not alone. Consider consulting a lawyer today, so as not to be a victim and become a lawyer for your rights.

First things first: what is sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment can take many forms. Sometimes it can be almost unnoticed and unusual. In other cases, it may be obvious and permanent. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) defines sexual harassment as “unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature” that either:

  • Affects a person’s employment;

  • Unreasonably interferes with the performance of a person’s work. or

  • Create an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.

While not a complete list, here are some common examples of sexual harassment:

  • Your coworker or supervisor sends you frequent sexual messages;

  • Your boss tells you that you will get a promotion or pay raise if you have sex with them;

  • The former partner, who is also a co-worker, continues to attempt to re-establish a romantic relationship with you even after you have been rejected; And

  • Your coworker is constantly making offensive comments about your gender or gender.

It is important to note that it does not matter whether the harassment is of the same or opposite sex as the victim of sexual harassment.

As sexual harassment comes in many different forms and sizes, it is best to consult a lawyer for unwanted sexual harassment who is familiar with current legislation and has experience in combating sexual harassment in the workplace.

Consequences of Sexual Harassment

It is almost impossible to underestimate the consequences of sexual harassment. Regardless of the exact circumstances, sexual assault has many effects.

Individual Effects

As you can imagine, the person who is sexually harassed at work suffers the most. Emotional effects include anger, shame, guilt and fear. Sexual harassment can also damage a victim’s self-esteem and lead to anxiety attacks.

Emotional consequences are not the only consequences of sexual harassment in the workplace. Since a person’s physical health is closely related to their emotional health, there are physical responses to sexual harassment. They include loss of appetite, nausea, weight loss or weight gain, headache, migraine, and lack of sleep. Victims also have high blood pressure and may begin to abuse alcohol or other substances.

The emotional and physical consequences often lead to financial loss. Victims who are afraid of harassment may be entitled to unpaid leave. In severe cases, they quit their jobs for other lower-paying jobs or travel longer to avoid continued sexual harassment. Such movements can cause cascade effects that permanently damage a person’s career path.

Consequences for the whole company

The victim of a performance of sexual assault will almost certainly be less effective because of the physical and emotional effects of the harassment. Over time, the number of victims of harassment can increase as they target more subsequent victims or create a culture where harassment in the workplace is accepted. In turn, this effect can cause entire teams and departments to struggle with higher employee turnover.

In addition, companies will almost certainly experience productivity losses as employees often get sick, leave abruptly or become dissatisfied.

Another consequence of sexual harassment in the workplace is the decline in corporate morale. Hostile work environments can demoralize an team. High turnover rates create additional stress for employees who choose to remain with the company, while employees who witness sexual harassment experience “presentism” and “lack of protection” in a toxic workplace for fear of reprisal.

Finally, the reputation and profitability of companies can be affected by sexual harassment lawsuits.

Social effects

The effects of sexual harassment at work do not stop at the company level. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reported an average of almost 13,000 complaints of sexual harassment each year between 1997 and 2011.

Although the actual number of sexual harassment cases is unknown, research from Deloitte estimated the economic impact of sexual harassment in the Australian workplace to exceed $2.6 billion in 2018. This figure includes not only lost productivity, but also medical expenses, medical expenses, psychiatric treatment expenses, investigation and resolution of sexual harassment complaints, and loss of victim welfare.

In short, sexual harassment is a social problem that affects all of us in one way or another.