Edited by Susan Vinnicombe, Ronald J. Burke, Stacy Blake-Beard and Lynda L. Moore
Chapter 5: Theoretical advances in the study of sexual harassment
Despite the advances made by lawmakers to eradicate sexual harassment (SH) from American workplaces, it is clear that it is still an impediment to women’s career development (Schneider et al., 1997) and their well-being (Willness et al., 2007). The impact of SH is immense for both organizations and individuals, particularly women. SH lawsuits can have damaging financial impacts on organizations. While the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reports that charges have steadily declined over the last decade (from 15,475 in 2001 to 11,364 in 2011; EEOC, 2013), monetary awards remain high and were at a ten-year high in 2011 ($52.3 million, with a ten-year average of $48.4 million; EEOC, 2013). Of even greater concern than financial damages to organizations is the psychological damage dealt to SH victims. Depression, somatic complaints, and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have been linked to experiences of SH (Willness et al., 2007; Collinsworth et al., 2009; Stockdale et al., 2009). Furthermore, women’s career development is negatively affected by SH. Women who experience SH have lower job satisfaction and are more likely to express turnover intentions (Schneideret al., 1997; Johns and Saks, 2001; Willness et al., 2007). Given the personal and organizational impact of SH, it is paramount for researchers to understand the many facets of SH behaviors, antecedents, impacts and remedies.
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