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How does workplace sexual harassment affect victims?

Sexual harassment is, unfortunately, surprisingly prevalent in the workplace. In recent years, more attention has been drawn to the issue, and, as a result, victims are feeling more empowered to assert their rights. However, the way that sexual harassment in the workplace can affect the lives of victims is not usually fully addressed.

Sexual harassment in the workplace usually falls under two categories: sexual harassment through the abuse of power, or sexual harassment through the creation of a hostile environment. An example of power abuse could be a boss asking an employee for sexual favors in return for a pay rise or promotion. The creation of a hostile environment could be invoked by an employee telling inappropriate sexual jokes or making sexual statements.

Sexual harassment can be very upsetting and even traumatic for victims. However, the extent to which sexual harassment in the workplace can affect victims can be even more profound. The following are common ways that victims can suffer.

Limits to career advancement

If an employee is experiencing sexual harassment within their team at work, they can suffer restricted access to learning opportunities. They may be deprived of mentorship because those tasked with mentoring may be oppressing them instead. Studies have shown that employees experiencing harassment are more likely to step down from leadership opportunities.

Mental and physical illnesses

Studies have shown that harassment can lead to depression. One in 10 women in the study who experienced harassment had symptoms that could qualify for a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Research has also found evidence to suggest that harassment could affect victims physically. There was found to be a higher risk of long-term physical health problems in those who have suffered harassment.

Unemployment and forced job changes

Those who have experienced harassment in the workplace may feel that they have no other option but to quit their job. This could lead to involuntary unemployment or a forced job change, potentially leading to a pay cut.

If you have experienced sexual harassment in New York, it is important that you think about the ways that the experience has negatively affected you. By taking swift action, you may be able to gain back damages and get justice in the process.

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