Sexual harassment in the workforce is much more than an annoyance or an unfair imposition. Victims of harassment are often placed in very awkward situations. They may even fear that if they do not reciprocate the advances of superiors or co-workers that their job could be in jeopardy. And in some cases, the harassment creates a hostile work environment, making it very difficult for the victim to do his or her job.
But the effects of sexual harassment extend well beyond the workplace and victims often experience very serious health issues, including:
- Sleep disturbances. The harassment may be a source of nightmares or could cause the victim to lie awake thinking about the incidents that took place at work.
- High blood pressure. Research has shown a strong connection in women between sexual harassment and elevated blood pressure. It is hypothesized that sexual harassment might cause stress-like psychological reactions, which are believed to increase the chance of cardiovascular disease.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder. Numerous studies have revealed a connection between experiencing sexual harassment and suffering from the symptoms of PTSD.
- Long-term depression. Victims of sexual harassment may suffer with bouts of self-doubt or even self-blame. Self-blame can ultimately manifest itself in feelings of depression or other mental health issues.
These are just some of the effects that victims of sexual harassment may experience. Clearly, sexual harassment at work can affect a victim’s well-being and quality of life. But fortunately, labor laws explicitly prohibit sexual harassment.
But if you are being subjected to unwanted sexual advances or intimidation, it is up to you to stand up and say “enough.” This can be a frightening step to take on your own. Therefore, you may want to seek the aid of an experienced employee rights attorney. The attorney can advise you of your rights as well as assess your chances of filing a successful claim.