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What determines credibility in a sexual harassment claim?

On Behalf of | Dec 29, 2022 | Sexual Harassment

The unfortunate reality of the workplace is that sexual harassment exists. This is a broad problem with significant and damaging consequences, but in many environments, victims of this abuse do not receive the same attention and justice.

Perceptions of sexual harassment vary, and one research study found a clear difference in the treatment of prototypical women and those who do not fit the conventional mold.

The scope of sexual harassment

Sexual harassment is a gender-based form of discrimination that applies to males, females and those who identify differently. Unwanted sexual attention, verbal or physical harassment, and other behaviors or requests that are sexual in nature can lead to a claim of sexual harassment. There are no age limits, height, weight or other physical characteristic requirements that define who is a victim. Unfortunately, the perception of the individual plays a part in developing the social credibility of a claim.

The research behind credibility

According to a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, women who are feminine and conventional attractive have a higher likelihood of experiencing sexual harassment at work. These women are also more likely to have their claims believed when compared to a non-prototypical woman. Although any form of sexual harassment against any person is wrong according to the law, achieving justice or credibility is harder for those whose physical and social characteristics do not fit the common perception of desirability or beauty.

Ethnicity, race, sexual orientation and gender identity are just a few of the prototypes to remove in order to see sexual harassment without bias. Victims have an improved chance for justice if this can happen.