High Level of Sexual Harassment Among Field Scientists

Working in a destination-specific work environment can contain unique health and safety risks. When sexual harassment is added to the environment, it can increase feelings of isolation and stress, creating an even more hazardous work environment. Many professional men and about half of all working women in Texas will experience sexual harassment while on the job during their careers.

A recent report revealed that close to 64 percent of all research scientists experience sexual harassment and abuse while on the job. In addition to this number, 22 percent had experienced sexual assault while at a research field destination. The majority of harassment victims regularly participated in fieldwork with the abuse occurring while on a work site.

Many of the victims were either scientists in training or still students who worked for employers that had not implemented a code of ethics to combat harassment in the field. Female victims most often reported their harassment to have come from a superior. Professionals have found that sexually explicit harassment that is inflicted by a superior can cause more serious damage than when it occurs between peers.

A person who suffers from sexual harassment while working for a Texas company that does not promote proper conduct may question his or her ability to ensure that the behavior is halted. State laws have been created to help protect workers from potentially inappropriate situations while on the job. Some victims of harassment may choose additional help in ensuring that the behavior comes to an end and that their professional reputation is secured.

Source: tpr.org, "Young Scientists Say They're Sexually Abused In The Field", , July 18, 2014

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