Florida readers might assume that most cases of workplace sexual harassment involve subordinates who are harassed by superiors. However, a new study finds that female supervisors are even more likely to be sexually harassed than women who do not hold supervisory positions.
Researchers at the Swedish Institute for Social Research at Stockholm University surveyed workers from Sweden, the United States and Japan and found that women in supervisory positions were more likely to be subjected to sexual harassment. In fact, they found that female supervisors in Sweden were around 30% more likely to face sexual harassment, female supervisors in the U.S. were around 50% more likely to be harassed, and female supervisors in Japan were 100% more likely to experience harassment than women workers without authority. The study also discovered that women with mostly male subordinates were more at risk for sexual harassment.
According to the authors of the study, women may face more harassment as they move up in a company because they are exposed to more groups of perpetrators. For instance, a woman in middle management might be harassed by both her subordinates and supervisors. However, women who reach the top levels of management may see an overall reduction in sexual harassment.
Federal and state laws protect workers from all forms of on-the-job sexual harassment, including offensive sexual comments, hostile working environments, lewd comments, unwanted sexual advances and unlawful retaliation. An employment attorney may be able to gather evidence supporting a worker’s claim and use that evidence to take legal action against the responsible employer. One such action could involve filing a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which might lead to a settlement that compensates the worker for back pay, back benefits and more. Workers may learn more about their legal rights by contacting an employment law firm.