How does sexual harassment impact women’s health?
According to research conducted at the University of Pittsburgh, the trauma of sexual harassment leaves lasting effects on women’s health. Women who experienced sexual harassment had almost a 3x higher risk of developing depressive symptoms. Additionally, they also experienced debilitating stress reactions, sleep disorders, high blood pressure, lowered self-esteem, and nausea.
How does sexual harassment impact employee productivity?
Toxic workplaces lead to reduced employee productivity. When an employee has experienced an incident of sexual harassment, or worse a steady campaign of harassment, their output will be affected. Research closely associates sexual harassment with job dissatisfaction and disengagement. Other consequences of sexual harassment that affect the workplace are tardiness, absenteeism, project neglect, and employee distraction.
A Deloitte study puts the productivity loss from sexual harassment at $2.62 billion. One study of 262 women who had reported being harassed found that nearly 75 percent of them felt that the effects of the harassment undermined their job performance. In particular, these women cited decreased motivation to work and an inability to concentrate on their work due to the presence of sexual innuendos.
How does sexual harassment impact employees’ mental health?
Research suggests that employees that observe harassment in the workplace were more likely to experience lower psychological and physical well-being. The driving factors of this mental and physical toll were empathy for the victim, concerns about a hostile workplace, and even fears of becoming the next target of harassment.
Does sexual harassment impact hiring and retention?
Employees are less likely to stay in a toxic environment, and recent research by HR.COM and EVERFI shows that employee turnover is one of the largest impacts of toxic work environments.
Another aspect of how sexual harassment affects the workplace is replacing those leaving staff members can prove equally problematic. The EEOC found that an earlier survey uncovered that 58 % of respondents who witnessed “unfairness” in the workplace in the last year would “to some degree” discourage potential employees from joining the company.
How sexual harassment impacts your brand
Research shows that when consumers witness or are made aware of “incivility” directed at an employee within the workplace, these potential customers can develop negative generalizations which will make them less likely to purchase from the firm. The survey also found that employees that have experienced an “unfair” workplace will even actively discourage potential customers from purchasing products or services from their employer.
What can you do to minimize the effects of sexual harassment at your workplace?
One of the principal means of combating and preventing sexual harassment in the workplace is an effective prevention-based harassment training program. Supreme Court rulings have established a clear precedent that companies could reduce their risk of liability by establishing sexual harassment training and reporting policies. In addition, the EEOC released a study on harassment in the workplace that stated: “training is an essential component of an anti-harassment effort.” Finally, the Department of Justice has also made it clear that a training program that goes beyond “check the box” is crucial to demonstrate your commitment to preventing harassment.
The effects of sexual harassment in the workplace and associated litigation can present a clear and present danger to your business. By being proactive, instituting sound policy, and offering comprehensive sexual harassment prevention training, you can reduce the likelihood of workplace sexual harassment even occurring.