No occupation or industry is immune to sexual harassment complaints. However, some people are more likely to experience harassment on the job than others for a few reasons, which we explore below.
Industries with higher incidents of harassment
Some workplaces where sexual harassment is more prevalent include:
Workers in these businesses could be more likely to experience, witness or even engage in sexual harassment.
Why is harassment more common in these businesses?
Working in a particular industry or role can put workers (predominantly female workers) in an environment where sexual harassment is more likely to be tolerated or overlooked.
Some businesses still reflect the outdated “boys’ club” view of the workplace where men are in charge and see female colleagues as objects or less valuable. This can make it more likely for males to engage in abusive and inappropriate behaviors without consequence.
Industries like hospitality or food and beverage service often attract people who make their living by earning tips and being accommodating. Further, employees might be younger, immature and work long hours together, meaning they can be more likely to cross the line between professional and personal interactions.
Still other companies could have poor oversight and weak leadership, allowing hostile, harassing environments to fester.
Protecting workers in these sectors
No matter what industry a person works in, they shouldn’t have to feel threatened, abused or humiliated. But even though there are laws prohibiting workplace harassment, it still happens far too often across Michigan.
Preventing this and improving workplaces requires a commitment from all of us. Employers should prioritize thorough, ongoing harassment training. They should also have a clear and effective process for reporting harassment. Further, they must take appropriate steps against parties engaging in harmful behaviors.
Employees can prevent or stop workplace harassment by calling it out when it happens and making a report of it, whether that is to an employer or Michigan’s Department of Civil Rights. Holding offending parties liable for unchecked harassment with a lawsuit could also help tackle this pervasive issue.