Sexual harassment has been linked to decreased job satisfaction, and can lead to a loss of staff and expertise because of resignations to avoid harassment, or because of resignations or firings of alleged harassers. Every year, hundreds of millions of dollars are lost in productivity because of effects such as employee absenteeism to avoid harassment, and increased team conflict in environments where harassment is occurring. The increased team conflict also leads to problems with team cohesion and less success in meeting financial goals. The knowledge that harassment is permitted can undermine ethical standards, and discipline in the organization. Prekel writes, “…staff lose respect for, and trust in, their seniors who indulge in, or turn a blind eye to, sexual harassment.” If the problem is ignored, a company’s image can suffer amongst clients, employees, potential customers, and the general public. Health care costs can increase because of the health consequences of harassment, not to mention the legal costs if a victim files a lawsuit after complaints are ignored or mishandled.
Some of the effects a sexual harassment victim can experience:
• Decreased work performance as the victim must focus on dealing with the harassment and the surrounding dynamics and/or effects; psychological effects of harassment can also decrease work performance • Increased absenteeism to avoid harassment, or because of illness from the stress • Having to drop courses, or change academic plans; academic transcripts may be weakened because of decreased school performance • Retaliation from the harasser, or friends of the harasser, should the victim complain or file a grievance (retaliation can involve revenge along with more sexual harassment, and often involves stalking the complainant) • Having one's personal life offered up for public scrutiny --the victim becomes the "accused," and their dress, lifestyle, and private life will often come under attack. (Note: this rarely occurs for the perpetrator.) • Being objectified and humiliated by scrutiny and gossip • Becoming publicly sexualized
• Defamation of character and reputation
• Loss of trust in environments similar to where the harassment occurred • Loss of trust in the types of people that occupy similar positions as the harasser • upon relationships with significant others, sometimes resulting in divorce; extreme stress on peer relationships, or relationships with colleagues • Being ostracized from professional or academic circles • Having to relocate to another city, another job,
• Loss of job and income
• Loss of career
• Weakening of support network: friends, and even family may distance themselves from the victim or abandon them altogether.
Prevent sexual harassment by organization
Companies that want to manage their risk prudently must act before a problem occurs. The EEOC encourages employers to "take all steps necessary to prevent sexual harassment from occurring, such as affirmatively raising the subject, expressing strong disapproval, developing appropriate sanctions, informing employees of their right to raise, and how to raise, the issue of harassment under Title VII, and developing methods to sensitize all concerned. First, companies need a comprehensive, detailed written policy on sexual harassment. The CEO should issue the policy and make it a high priority of the company. Second, they need to distribute this policy to all workers, supervisors, and even some non-employees. A basic policy should set forth the following: · an express commitment to eradicate and prevent sexual harassment; · a definition of sexual harassment including both quid pro quo and hostile work environment; · an explanation of penalties (including termination) the employer will impose for substantiated sexual harassment conduct; · a detailed outline of the...