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The effects of sexual harassment in the workplace

Missouri workers should be aware that there are very serious and often long-lasting consequences to sexual harassment in the workplace. These consequences can affect both the employee who is harassed and other workers who experience the harassment secondhand.

A worker's livelihood can be jeopardized for refusing to give in to a supervisor's or manager's sexual demands. Promotions can be denied and pay raises halted.

In other cases, the unwelcome sexual behavior of co-workers creates hostile working conditions that can indirectly pressure a harassed employee to quit his or her job. The harassment can become so traumatizing to an employee that he or she suffers physical and emotional consequences and can become unable to perform the required job duties.

A law center for women, Equal Rights Advocates, compiled data that showed that between 90 and 95 percent of women who were sexually harassed experience a debilitating stress reaction like depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, weight gain or loss, headaches, nausea, sexual dysfunction or lowered self-esteem. Their findings also showed that those victimized by sexual harassment lose $4.4 million wage dollars and 973,000 hours of unpaid leave annually in America.

Employee morale can be affected by sexual harassment across the board. Work can be disrupted by the behavior even if all of the workers are not directly involved. The bottom line can suffer if productivity drops when workers become demoralized.

When you find yourself in a situation on the job where sexual harassment is affecting your job performance, chances of promotion or quality of life, it may be time to seek some legal advice on the options that are available to you and the best way to proceed.

Source: umn.edu, "Sexual Harassment- 4. Effects of Sexual Harassment" Sep. 29, 2014

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