While no California industry is immune to sexual harassment, research shows that certain organizational factors make it more likely to occur in some environments than others. When sexual harassment does occur within a particular business, it has the potential to make employees disengage from their positions and become less satisfied with their chosen career paths. It may also lead to absenteeism, low morale and emotional issues for the victims.
Per the Time’s Up Foundation, the following factors have the capacity to make sexual harassment more likely in a particular work setting.
1. Male-dominated work environments
Statistically speaking, sexual harassment occurs more in work setting where men tend to hold more positions of power, or where the majority of the workers are male. For example, women often face higher rates of sexual harassment when they work in construction, the automotive industry or trucking.
2. Significant power imbalances
Sexual harassment is also more prevalent in work setting where there are notable disparities in terms of power. For example, this type of behavior often occurs in restaurants, where servers, bussers, bartenders or other support staff have significantly less power than, say, managers and general managers.
3. Isolated workspaces
Studies show that sexual harassment is also more common in work environments where employees face isolation from one another. This may be because there is less of a chance that anyone other than the victim is going to witness the harassing behavior, making harassers feel more at ease taking action.
Research shows that a relatively small percentage of employees who experience workplace sexual harassment ever come forward, which may exacerbate the problem.