The Impact of Harassment in the Workplace (Part 2)

In my last blog we discussed a variety of topics that fall under the larger umbrella of a respectful workplace. In this blog we will highlight the impact of harassment on the individual and the organization. Need a refresher on what constitutes harassment?

Impact on the individual

  • Humiliation, embarrassment, and shame
  • Loss of dignity, confidence and self-esteem
  • Feelings of exclusion and isolation
  • Poor health, depression and anxiety
  • Anger and resentment
  • Damage to professional reputation and career
  • Lowered morale, concentration and productivity

Impact on the Organization

  • Productivity losses and decreased morale
  • Increased turnover and absenteeism
  • Negative publicity, including loss of customers/clients
  • Cost – if legal action is taken costs can skyrocket

Why Harassment is Hard to Report

A survey based on over 2,000 full and part-time female employees found that one in three women between the ages of 18-34 has been sexually harassed at work, but only 29% reported the issue while 71% did not. (Vagianos, 2015)

When a victim of harassment comes forward, he or she has spent anxious time weighing the risks of lodging a formal complaint. Some concerns may include:

  • “Things are bad now but will they be worse afterwards?”
  • “I’m too embarrassed by what happened to let anyone know about it.”
  • “What will it do to my career? Will my boss believe me? Will there be retaliation?”

What if the employee has chosen you as the person to talk to? The pressure is on.

My next blog will focus on the conversation with the employee who has come forward.

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