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Teens more vulnerable to sexual harassment in the workplace

Have you ever been told an inappropriate sexual joke that makes you feel uncomfortable? Have you ever been approached through an unwelcome comment or behavior based on your gender -- the kind that almost makes your skin crawl? Have you ever been touched on the shoulder, on the back or even on the bottom without your consent? You may have experienced sexual harassment, and according to a recent survey, more teens than we think are being put in this position every day.

A recent research study found that of those teenaged children who participated, 54 percent of females and 37 percent of males said that they experienced at least one incident of sexual harassment while on the job over the past two years. These percentages are at levels that place them more at risk of becoming a victim of workplace harassment based on their gender than the typical adult.

Researchers who conducted the study believe that teens who work low-opportunity jobs are targeted more often than adults in part because of their inexperience both in the working world as well as life in general. Inexperience and the age difference between most teens and their supervisors make them not only more susceptible to the harassment by way of a power differential, but less likely to report that an incident ever occurred.

Teens that have just begun to step out into the world are unprepared to deal with harassment in this situation. Some fear losing their jobs, some fear the adults themselves and some are even embarrassed or are not aware of their rights. What is worse than the harassing incident itself is that it could have an effect on the teen's future. We'll share the second half of the research study about the possible effects in our next post.

Source: Yahoo! News, "Teens More Likely to Face Sexual Harassment on the Job," Chad Brooks, Dec. 26, 2012

If you are a teen or a parent of a teen who has suffered even one incident of unwelcome behavior that occurs because of your gender, our website provides more information about your options.

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