3 factors that contribute to workplace sexual harassment

On Behalf of | Jan 10, 2023 | employee rights, Employment |

Sexual harassment takes place in virtually all California industries.  Yet, some factors make it more likely to manifest within a particular organization. Organizational policies and practices impact everything from how likely sexual harassment is to occur to how likely employees are to report it. They also contribute to how likely supervisors or employers are to retaliate against workers who report sexual harassment.

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the following structures and conditions make sexual harassment more likely within a particular business environment.

Gender disparities

Sexual harassment happens more often in male-dominated industries. It is also more common in sectors where men tend to hold more positions of power. For example, sexual harassment is often rampant in dining and hospitality, where men tend to hold more powerful roles. It is also more common in male-dominated industries such as construction and transportation than it is in education or health care, where there are often more female employees.

Ineffective reporting systems

Employees become less likely to report workplace sexual harassment if they believe doing so is not going to get them anywhere. Companies with broken or inadequate reporting systems tend to see higher incidences of sexual harassment.

Power imbalances

Sexual harassment also occurs more often in work environments where there is a clear power imbalance. Research suggests that sexual harassment happens more in environments where employers or business executives consider the harasser to be more valuable to the company than the victim.

Studies suggest that workplace sexual harassment also becomes more likely in work environments where employees are in isolation from one another, or where unclear employment structures exist.