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Study finds higher rate of sexual harassment among supervisors

On Behalf of | Jan 24, 2020 | Sexual Harassment

Indiana women who work in supervisory positions may be more likely to experience sexual harassment than women who are lower in the company hierarchy. According to a study conducted by Swedish researchers, who used data from Sweden, Japan and the United States, sexual harassment among women in higher positions only drops when they reach the very top.

Researchers used data from five different years of the Swedish Work Environment Survey. This survey presented a definition of sexual harassment and asked participants the subjective question of whether they had experienced harassment in the past 12 months. Women supervisors had a harassment rate that was 30% higher than those who were not supervisors. In the U.S. and Japan, a survey was done that asked women about workplace sexual harassment in two different ways. One, like the Swedish question, was subjective. The other method gave a list of behaviors and asked women which ones they had been subjected to in the previous year.

Supervisors in the U.S. experienced harassment at a rate that was 50% higher than non-supervisors based on the list. In Japan, it was 30% higher based on the list. In both countries, it was almost 100% higher based on the subjective question. Researchers suggested that these women experienced harassment from employees who were both above and below them.

Many people are hesitant to report sexual harassment in the workplace because they are afraid it will negatively affect their careers. Others may be unsure whether a certain behavior in the workplace would be considered sexual harassment. People who think they may be dealing with sexual harassment at work might want to consult an attorney to find out what their rights are. While the first step is usually to try to address the harassment at work, an attorney may help if this process is unsatisfactory.


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