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Young people new to the workforce are vulnerable to harassment

On Behalf of | Jun 13, 2024 | Employment Law for Employees |

It is important for young people to garner valuable experience in the workplace. Often, this is through summer jobs and after-school employment. Employers know that having younger people can bring an infusion of energy while simultaneously building a foundation for the future.

However, there are underlying issues that need to be addressed with teens new to the workforce. Specifically, sexual harassment and other forms of mistreatment are unfortunately common. Recent research and analysis has discussed how prevalent this problem is. For younger workers, knowing their rights is crucial. Employers must also be attentive to potential misbehaviors to implement policies to prevent harassment and other employment law violations.

Report says one in four young workers face some form of harassment

According to the Wall Street Journal and summarized in Inc., teen workers are still being subjected to various abusive behaviors including sexual harassment and even assault. Statistically, the researchers found that one in four reported this had happened to them. Given the recent attention being paid to harassing behaviors and the #MeToo movement’s response to it, the problem young workers face is continuing.

Many of these young workers are unsure of what to do when they are treated this way or are completely unaware of their rights. Half did not tell their supervisor about the behaviors. Even those who are willing to come forward find that their managers are not receptive to the complaints. For a significant percentage, nothing of significance was done or the managers did not believe them, dismissed the complaints, did not care or claimed to not have time to deal with it.

This has been an area of concern for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and it is taking steps to ensure that workers and employers know how much of a problem this is and what must be done to stop it.

The EEOC wants to make sure workers know what can be done, but it also wants to emphasize to companies and their managers that harassment must be taken seriously and there are steps that should be taken to ensure they comply the law. Employers are vulnerable if managers receive a complaint and nothing is done to investigate the allegations.

Both employees and employers should have a grasp of the law

Whether it is sexual harassment or another violation of employment law, it is imperative for both workers and employers to know what the law says regarding these complicated issues. Employers that might otherwise take the necessary steps to prevent these activities and protect employees could face legal problems because they were unclear as to the proper procedures.

Employees – particularly those who are new to the workforce – might be under the impression that they could lose the job or be in trouble themselves if they complain. Considering all options is essential and that could mean exploring legal avenues to hold harassers and the employer accountable.