Workplace harassment effect and consequences are alive and well. According to surveys conducted in the U.S. on an annual basis, approximately 50-55 million people reported being harassed in their various offices. Whether it is sexual harassment or general bullying, it is doubtless that any type of harassment is inappropriate and can be detrimental. Workplace harassment affects everyone because this creates an environment where the employees’ sense of safety, productivity ,and focus are shattered extensively.
EMOTIONAL AND PHYSICAL ISSUES
Victims of sexual harassment often go through psychological and emotional stress in the form of tension, anxiety, stress, and depression. This may also result in them losing their self-esteem and confidence. Also, other physical health problems may also arise such as loss of appetite, sleeplessness, headaches, and nausea. Consequently, such people may also experience problems as serious as high blood pressure, weakened immune system and hormonal imbalance.
PROFESSIONAL AND FINANCIAL PROBLEMS
Working in an environment of harassment may ultimately affects an employee’s career trajectory and work performance. Decreased confidence and fear results in the victim being disengaged with their colleagues. They are more likely to get distracted and neglect their official duties. Absenteeism due to the need of not wanting to be subjective to such a hostile environment may have a tremendous impact on the employee’s pay, overtime incentives, and annual bonuses as well.
Business owners and managers will be held accountable for the workplace harassment that is occurring within their organization. In serious and extreme cases of harassment have forced owners of companies to pay million dollars for settlements of harassment lawsuits, which could be due to damages caused to an employee over physical issues, mental issues, loss of pay, loss of employment resulting from the harassment that took place within their workplace.
Sexual harassment not only affects an employee, but the organization as well. When a company is constantly infested by harassment, retaliation, and discrimination, then the employees will likely start experiencing low morale and resentment. The hostile environment created by the harassment gives rise to more absenteeism, stress, low productivity, anxiety, and overall less dedication and loyalty to the company. Furthermore, victims and witnesses that are not satisfied with their employers about how they address workplace harassment, the employers will prefer to leave such hostile workplaces. Now, this in turn will lead to an increase in employee turnover and increased cost of re-hiring and training.
REPUTATION AND LAWSUITS
If a company fails to provide methods and procedures to prevent and control workplace harassment, then it can lead to expensive settlements and lawsuits. Settlements and lawsuits can cost the company thousands and even millions of dollars. Highly publicized cases can also harm the reputation of the company and result in loss of business and profit.
If a victim of workplace harassment chooses not to leave the workplace then proper functioning on any job is important. If an victim chooses to leave the employer but is suffering from medical, emotional, and physical issues, then the company will be likely liable for that care. In fact, it may be court-ordered for companies to pay for rehabilitation services such as counseling and additional medical costs that the victim has and may incur.
Unresolved workplace harassment can cause a safety concern for employers and their workers. Employees are often faced with the harsh reality of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation during the course of their workday from other employees including their supervisors. According to safety statistics, in the past few years, workplace violence has affected over 2 million employees each year, with an alarming approximation of 470 deaths in the workplace. When employees are faced with consistent unfair work treatment, hostile environments, harassment, poor management, public humiliation, stress, and fatigue, one or more of these factors can definitely contribute to workplace violence. Consequences of workplace harassment are real as actual stats report that 21% of all workplace violence incidents are committed by another co-worker.
There is not just one consequence of workplace harassment as stated above. Employers must care about their employees while they are at their place of employment. All employees should be held to high standards of respect and safety. Everyone has a right to work in an environment that is free of any type of workplace harassment. Not only is harassment harmful to workers, it gives rise to a toxic work culture that causes harm to the productivity, teamwork, and morale among the employees. If business owners, human resources personnel, and managers do not use proactive management in trying to deter workplace harassment from occurring then it can lead to a lot of money to be paid for harassment lawsuits and settlements. When these essential leadership personnel realize that it is a better allocation of the funds to go towards annual harassment training, team-building activities, leadership training, employee appreciation activities and events rather than court and judgment awards, this will be a great step toward deterring harassment on the job; therefore, reducing any workplace harassment consequences.
Meet the Author
Alana Williams is the CEO and Senior Investigator of J.A. Investigative Services, LLC. J.A. Investigative Services is a licensed and insured investigation agency that specializes in conducting professional and comprehensive Workplace Harassment Investigations and Workplace Harassment Prevention Training. Services and trainings are offered nationwide. Alana is a collegiate Criminal Justice Instructor and a police officer with 10 years of experience. Also, she is a Licensed Private Investigator and a Certified EEO Investigator that has conducted over 70 trainings and guest appearances with audiences of 200+. For more information about our blogs and newsletters,
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