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Women supervisors are more likely to experience sexual harassment

While many women experience sexual harassment in entry level positions, it has been shown that women continue to battle harassment as they move up in the company. In fact, women who are in supervisor positions are more likely to experience workplace sexual harassment.

Half of female supervisors are sexually harassed at work

Many women assume that they will avoid sexual harassment when they climb the company ladder but it has been shown that the likelihood only increases. In a study conducted by the American Sociological Association, which lasted more than a decade, it was found that almost 50 percent of women supervisors experienced workplace sexual harassment. This number compares to the 1/3 of women in non-supervisory positions who experience sexual harassment at work. The study was also conducted on men but found no correlation to increased sexual harassment for male supervisors.

These numbers support the notion that workplace sexual harassment is more about a show of power than of attraction. Co-workers might try to harass women in power to establish control. On the other hand women can feel pressured into accepting harassment so they can be a part of the "boys club." Women in positions of power need to know that they do not have to accept harassment in the workplace.

Unwelcomed sexual advances, verbal or physical harassment, or requests for sexual favors in the workplace are not only unsavory but can be illegal. It does not matter who the harassment is coming from, the victim has rights under the law. Harassment crosses over into an illegal territory when it creates a hostile or offensive work environment. It is also illegal if you have filed a complaint against your co-worker which resulted in retaliation or wrongful termination.

What you can do if you experience workplace sexual harassment

Workers do not have to accept workplace sexual harassment whether they are in an entry level position or a top supervisory role. You can take the following steps if you are being harassed at work:

  • Tell your co-worker that their actions are offensive
  • Notify human resources and your boss that you are uncomfortable
  • Document the harassment in writing. Include details, dates, and locations

If you are experiencing a hostile work environment, retaliation from a coworker, or have been wrongfully terminated then contact an attorney experienced in employment law right away.

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