December 31st, 2012

A recent study shows that teen workers experience sexual harassment on the job much more often than their adult counterparts. In fact, the study found that among the 116 high school students who were surveyed, more than half of the girls and 37 percent of boys reported being sexually harassed at work within the past two years.

The lead author of the study said that the higher rate of sexual harassment for teen workers may be due to their relatively low status within the organizations where they work. Teens are probably also unfamiliar with their rights as employees and with the procedures for reporting misconduct at work.

Sexual harassment at work was linked to lower job satisfaction. Among female teen employees, sexual harassment at work was also related to lower skill development. Researchers expressed concern that over the long term, girls who were sexually harassed at work may suffer at school as well, with grades and attendance suffering.

On the other hand, teenagers who had jobs where they were given more responsibility, had regular feedback, and some level of autonomy experienced lower levels of sexual harassment and enjoyed their jobs more.

The study authors recommended that teenagers who are currently working or who are looking or a job become familiar with their rights as employees and the specific policies of their current or prospective employer. Knowing one’s rights can be a powerful tool and can help empower teen workers to get the fair, equal treatment that they deserve on the job.

Source: Yahoo News, “Teens More Likely to Face Sexual Harassment on the Job,” Chad Brooks, Dec. 26, 2012.

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