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Impact on the workplace and on employers

Last edited: June 05, 2020

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Violence and harassment substantially affects work and the working environment; it can have devastating effects on the health and wellbeing of victims, as well as serious consequences for the employer and society at large. For example, in universities and colleges where a pervasive culture of sexual harassment exists, sexual harassment fuels a negative organizational culture (Johnson et al, 2018a). According to the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, in the academic areas of science, engineering, and medicine, sexual harassment results in long-term health and psychological impacts on women, as well as “…significant damage to research integrity and a costly loss of talent in these fields.” (Johnson et al, 2018b, p.1) This happens despite the positive efforts being made to attract women to study and work in Science Technology Engineering or Mathematics (STEM) subject areas (EIGE, 2017).  Research shows that tackling the issue helps protect workers’ and employers’ safety and health and can enhance the profitability and reputation of enterprises.

Table 1 sets out the consequences that violence and harassment has for women workers and for organizations, and indicates positive results that can arise when the issue is properly dealt with.

Table 1: The impact of violence and harassment against women in the world of work and the positive outcomes of addressing it

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