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Young Los Angeles workers vulnerable to sexual harassment

Los Angeles residents who work low-paying jobs or have positions that do not lead to many opportunities might feel powerless in the workplace compared to their supervisors and other folks who work in positions that carry significant responsibilities. But just because some workers might not have as much experience or responsibilities as others does not mean that they don't have the same rights as those who are more experienced.

A new study suggests, though, that younger workers who have low-opportunity jobs and little experience in the workplace are more likely to be sexually harassed by supervisors compared to workers who have more experience or responsibilities. Vulnerable workers who are harassed in the workplace might think that sexual harassment is something they must live with since they have no power over others. This type of thinking might prevent workers from reporting sexual harassment and seeking help.

Not reporting harassment could only make the workplace more unbearable, but younger workers could also suffer other long-term consequences, researchers suggest.

For the study, researchers surveyed nearly 120 workers who were all high school students. Researchers discovered that those who worked low-opportunity jobs had less job satisfaction compared to those who had more responsibilities at work and more opportunities to develop skills.

Researchers also discovered that teenagers in low-opportunity jobs were also more likely to experience sexual harassment at work. One reason younger and less experienced workers may be more likely to face harassment compared to older workers is because they do not understand workplace laws. Younger workers also might not report harassment when they feel powerless at work, researchers suggest.

According to the study, nearly 40 percent of teens who were males had experienced sexual harassment at work. More than 50 percent of teens who were females reported that they had been sexually harassed while on the job. The study is concerning, especially because sexual harassment can affect victims' mental health and motivation in the workplace or even at school. Young workers are encouraged to report sexual harassment, seek help and seek legal counsel when necessary.

Source: Yahoo! News, "Teens more likely to face sexual harassment on the job," Chad Brooks, Dec. 26, 2012

  • Our Los Angeles / Long Beach employment law firm handles a wide variety of sexual harassment and hostile work environment claims. To learn more about employee rights and our firm, please visit our Long Beach sexual harassment lawyer page.

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