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3 organizational risk factors for sexual harassment

On Behalf of | Jul 24, 2023 | Blog, Sexual Harassment

While no California professional industry is immune to sexual harassment, research shows that this type of behavior is more common in some professional settings than it is in others. Certain work conditions seem to “set the stage” for sexual harassment, and it is vital that employers learn to mitigate these factors for the sake of their employees’ well-being.

Per the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission, the following are three organizational risk factors for sexual harassment.

1. Hierarchal work environments

Studies show that sexual harassment is more commonplace in work settings where there are substantial power disparities between workers. When there is a clear disparity between one worker’s degree of power and another’s, the lower-ranking worker often becomes hesitant to speak up about sexual harassment for fear of losing his or her position.

2. Young staff

Many work environments that see high levels of sexual harassment also employ a high number of young people. Newer, younger workers often do not know what is and is not acceptable in a workplace, making sexual harassment more common. Newer employees may also not know what to do when they become victims of sexual harassment, making them less likely to make formal reports of the behavior.

3. Alcohol

It may not surprise you that alcohol also plays a role in the number of sexual harassment claims that arise from a particular business. Studies show work environments that encourage or focus on alcohol consumption tend to see higher levels of sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment is unacceptable, regardless of the state or nature of the workplace. There are laws in place to protect workers who experience this type of harassment on the job.

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