How harassment impacts health care workers

Roughly 25 percent of nurses and related professionals have experienced or seen instances of sexual harassment in the last three years. That was according to a 2018 report from Medscape. A survey of over 6,200 clinicians listed several acts that qualified as sexual harassment, including comments about a person's body or being asked out on a date repeatedly.

It also considered rewards or punishments based on a person's willingness to perform sexual favors as sexual harassment. Those who responded to the survey were most likely to say that infringing upon personal space was among the acts that they witnessed or experienced. Groping or unwanted touching was also among the common behaviors mentioned among respondents. Individuals who were victims of sexual harassment were likely to deal with emotional distress related to the incident. Emotional distress may result in a person having lower job satisfaction or a reduced ability to deliver quality care.

Among individuals who participated in the study, 16 percent said that they quit their jobs because of sexual harassment. Another 30 percent said that they had considered quitting their jobs after being sexually harassed at work. Others said that they interacted with colleagues less often or were absent from work at an increased rate after such an incident occurred.

An individual who is denied a promotion or terminated from a company based on their refusal to submit to sexual harassment may wish to consult with an attorney. A victim of harassment may be entitled to compensation or their old job back. Evidence of harassment may include copies of text messages from a boss or colleague. It may also come in the form of a poor performance review after refusing to submit to a sex act with a manager.

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