Risk Factors for Sexual Harassment at Work

Risk Factors for Sexual Harassment at Work

Any workplace can experience denuncia por acoso laboral, but not all workplaces and employees are equally at risk of being harassed or facing retribution. A few of these risk variables also make it more difficult to report harassment and raise the possibility of reprisals.

Several interviewees worked in fields with traits that increase the risk of harassment, such as those where there are significant power imbalances, precarious contracts due to temporary employment, undocumented status, or non-permanent immigration. Other characteristics of these fields include a heavy reliance on performance evaluation by customers or clients, physical isolation, decentralization, or lack of administrative oversight.

1. Industries dominated by men

In workplaces where women make up the minority of employees as well as in industries where men predominate, there is a significantly higher risk of harassment. Women who work in the fields of construction, transportation, or utilities, for instance, are more than four times more likely than those who work in the fields of education and health services to have reported sexual harassment to the EEOC. Five of the women who agreed to share their stories with us worked in male-dominated industries such as construction, trucking, and information technology.

2. Workplaces that are physically cut off

As is typical in industries including construction, haulage, and janitorial labor, as well as for domestic or health care services provided in a client’s home, several interviewees reported working in physically remote settings. By putting people in surroundings at work where there are harassers and few witnesses, such physical isolation might make workers more vulnerable. One man, five women, and one janitorial worker out of the six people we spoke with worked in personal care.

3. Power Disparities

The experience is widely supported by research. Many of the people interviewed discovered that when they tried to report the harassment, their harasser was seen as a more “valuable” employee than the harassed, and so little action was taken to address the issue.

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