Study Suggests Women in Leadership Positions Are More Likely to Be Victims of Sexual Harassment
Workplace sexual harassment is an illegal form of discrimination prohibited by both federal and state law. It can take the form of offensive sexual or gender-based remarks and behavior, or sexual harassment can involve a person in a position of authority wielding this power for sexual gain. We most often think of sexual harassment victims as being those who are lower on the corporate ladder, but this is not always the case. A recent study suggests that women who have manager or supervisor positions may actually be more likely to experience sexual harassment than other employees.
Women Who Supervise Men May Experience Sexual Harassment More Frequently
Since the #MeToo movement began in earnest a couple years ago, more and more people are talking about sexual harassment in the workplace. For too long, the issue of workplace discrimination was considered taboo. Now, as victims of sexual harassment are speaking up about their mistreatment, an increasing number of employers are taking steps to prevent and address sexual harassment in their businesses. Additionally, more research is being conducted to help understand how and why sexual harassment occurs.
One recent study conducted by the Swedish Institute for Social Research at Stockholm University analyzed the relationship between leadership roles and sexual harassment in the United States, Sweden, and Japan. Contrary to what one might assume, the study found that women supervisors were actually more likely to suffer from harassment than women employees. Women who held leadership positions over men were the most likely to respond that they had been sexually harassed in the past year.
How to Respond to Sexual Harassment
There may be a number of reasons that women in leadership positions are more likely to experience harassment. One explanation could be that these women are worried that taking a stand against harassing and discriminating behavior will cost them their leadership role. However, employers are prohibited by law from retaliation against employees who report sexual harassment. If you have experienced sexual harassment and your employer has not taken steps to adequately address the problem, you may need to contact an attorney about your options. If your employer has demoted you, decreased your work hours, or otherwise “punished” you after you reported sexual harassment, this is illegal retaliation. In such a situation, it is crucial for you to speak to a lawyer as soon as possible.
Contact a Chicago Sexual Harassment Lawyer
Employers have an obligation to keep workplaces free from sexual harassment. If you have been a victim of harassment or retaliation, MKFM Law can help. Call our office at 630-665-7300 today and schedule a confidential consultation with an experienced Illinois employment discrimination attorney.