How witnesses are impacted by sexual harassment at work

Arizona workers may have witnessed one or more acts of sexual harassment on the job. According to a survey from Society of Human Resources Management, 17 percent of the respondents from around the country said that they had witnessed such an event. However, the actual number may be higher as people may not be forthcoming when asked about their own experience. This may be because they are afraid of being retaliated against.

In some cases, people refuse to report the behavior because of the impact it may have on company morale. The survey also found that 11 percent said that they were the target of sexual harassment themselves. In many cases, those who witness harassment face the same dilemma as those who are victimized. It may be difficult to decide when or how to talk about what they saw.

It may also be difficult to determine whether it's appropriate to talk to the perpetrator of such behavior. This may be especially true if the perpetrator is a mentor or otherwise a person that a victim or witness respects. However, it is possible for a witness to feel the impact of a workplace culture that allows harassment to take place. Even if a person isn't victimized personally, it may still take a toll on a person's sense of well-being.

Anyone who is subject to a hostile work environment may have the right to take legal action against an employer. This may be true whether a person was the direct victim of harassment or was indirectly impacted by it. An attorney can review a case to determine if the behavior was severe or pervasive against an individual.

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