Sexual harassment in the workplace continues to occur, demoralizing employees who are subjected to hostile work environments. There are costs to the employer as well, including decreased worker productivity and increased employee turnover. According to a study by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), there are several workplace characteristics that set the stage for sexual harassment. The following summarizes key risk factors identified by the study:
- Homogenous workforce: Sexual harassment of women is more likely to occur in workplaces that have primarily male employees. Also, workers who do not conform to the predominate culture are more likely to be subjected to harassment.
- Power disparities: High-value or high-ranking employees who believe the rules do not apply to them are more likely to harass others and get away with it.
- Type of work and location: Employees working in isolated spaces or decentralized locations may be more likely to harass others because they feel removed from central management and its policies.
- Alcohol: The more alcohol consumption is tolerated or encouraged, the more likely it is that harassment will occur.
Companies may be able to reduce incidents of sexual harassment by identifying these characteristics and taking steps to remediate them, starting with leadership and accountability. Top management must convey a sense of urgency for discovering if employees feel that harassment exists. Next, it is critical to establish accountability by properly sanctioning those engaging in inappropriate conduct, especially if they are high-ranking or high-valued employees. Updating harassment training can also make a difference.
If you have been subjected to sexual harassment, you do not have to put up with a hostile work environment. Contact a Philadelphia sexual harassment lawyer at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. today by calling us at 215-569-1999 or completing our online form. Located in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, and throughout South Jersey.