Workers tend to know that sexual harassment in the workplace is prohibited. But this doesn’t always mean that they know when it’s occurring. An interesting study found that their perception of what is taking place is largely shaped by the consistent atmosphere in which they work.
In other words, if sexual harassment is common in their industry, they’re not as sure when it’s happening. If they worked in a setting where sexual harassment almost never occurred, it would stand out to them and be obvious. It would instinctively feel different and wrong. They may not even know exactly what had taken place, but they would know that it was a violation of their rights.
However, many of those working in the restaurant industry or the bar industry, for example, may experience sexual harassment quite often. Four industries that were identified were retail, hospitality, manufacturing and information. When quid pro quo sexual harassment occurred, individuals working in these industries could only recognize it about half of the time.
This doesn’t change whether or not it’s illegal
One important thing that workers should take away from this is that sexual harassment is still illegal, no matter how often it happens. Just because you work in an industry where it occurs on a consistent basis doesn’t mean that you should ignore it or just accept it as part of your job. Once you recognize it, you certainly do have legal rights. Workers in these industries need to be extra vigilant, and they also need to know about all of their legal options if something does occur.