When You Need Attorneys That Understand Both Sides,
You Turn To Goldman & Ehrlich

Why is sexual harassment so persistent in workplaces?

On Behalf of | Feb 16, 2024 | EMPLOYMENT LAW (EMPLOYEE) - Sexual Harassment

Employment-related sexual harassment is unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature that creates an offensive, intimidating or hostile work environment. It can play out in various forms, including verbal, non-verbal and physical conduct.

Sexual harassment in workplaces remains a persistent and pervasive issue despite increased awareness and efforts to combat it. Understanding the underlying factors contributing to its persistence is crucial for devising effective strategies to help address and prevent such behavior.

Power dynamics and hierarchies

One of the primary reasons for the persistence of sexual harassment in workplaces is the imbalance of power and hierarchical structures within organizations. Often, perpetrators of harassment hold positions of authority or influence over their victims. This creates an environment where speaking out against such behavior can be met with fear of retaliation or professional consequences.

Organizational culture and norms

The culture and norms established within an organization play a significant role in either perpetuating or preventing sexual harassment. In organizations where unwelcome behavior is overlooked or even normalized, victims may feel discouraged from speaking out or seeking support.

Lack of effective policies and enforcement

Another factor contributing to the persistence of sexual harassment is the absence of robust policies and enforcement mechanisms within workplaces. Even when policies are in place, they may lack clarity, accessibility or adequate channels for reporting and resolution. Additionally, insufficient enforcement of policies can signal to employees that harassment is not taken seriously by management. This can further encourage perpetrators.

Fear of reprisal and retaliation

Fear of reprisal and retaliation is a significant barrier to reporting incidents of sexual harassment. Victims may worry about damage to their reputation, career advancement opportunities or even threats to their safety if they come forward with allegations.

The persistence of sexual harassment in workplaces is a multifaceted issue influenced by power dynamics, organizational culture and policy gaps. Any employee who has been enduring sexual harassment at work can benefit from consulting a legal professional to help them break their silence and hold their organization accountable.